A few eyebrows raised out there on news that the CFP Board of Standards has recruited Joseph Maugeri from Merrill Lynch as its new head of business development.
Maugeri will act as liaison to big financial service providers and as an ambassador for the CFP® designation, which he himself holds.
As former head of Merrill's professional alliance program, he's an expert in building bridges across the industry, which should serve him well in his official mission "to help financial services firms of all sizes attract and retain not only clients, but also employees."
This may entail promoting the financial planning discipline within advisory organizations that previously were resistant or even hostile to it -- notably some insurance companies and wirehouse units -- while lobbying to make planners happy in environments with revenue models outside the traditional small fee-only or fee-based RIA shop.
It would be naive to think that picking a Merrill executive for this job represents any kind of "capitulation" of the planning profession to the wirehouse world.
If the planning profession is going to grow the way the CFP Board wants it to grow, they'll need allies at the big firms, and not so much more friends among the independents that already subscribe to its principles.
And with an official representative from "the inside," so to speak, the financial planning mentality may be on its way to making much more serious inroads in those gigantic firms that were once neutral to hostile to it.