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The CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct imposes new ethics education requirement effective October 1, 2018. Though the new ethics requirement doesn’t go into effect until October 2019, the CFP Board requires you to learn about it now -- a year ahead of imposing it on practitioners.


In 2016, Advisors4Advisors identified the CFP® ethics class a priority, and we invested people and technology to turn into a scalable business. Why? A4A believes improving ethics is a good long-term business investment and the rest will fall into place.

A4A's 2017 and 2018 ethics class was a two-hour bore, a naive first attempt in a long-term investment to do good and do well.

New requirements imposed by CFP Board makes sponsoring the 2019 ethics class more difficult.

However, it also affords the opportunity for providers to add wisdom of the A4A community and enables A4A's information scientists to add value. We believe this is a new kind of journalism.

The 2019 class improves how CFP Board educates practitioners about ethics by requiring providers like A4A to embed the latest software-driven techniques to administer the course online, including quizzes and case studies with vignettes about real-world ethical issues. As a result, A4A members can’t help but learn to apply best practices and improve their success.

To make A4A's vignettes actionable, practical, wise, and compelling, this is a call for contributions to the 2019 ethics class, to make sure that ethical voices are heard and understood, to raise the bar on the ethical values of the profession, and to improve fiduciary services to clients.

CFP® thought leaders have already begun collaborating with A4A information scientists to produce the class. Bill Schretter, CFP,® a veteran instructor of the CFP® ethics class in Southwestern, Ohio, is guiding production of A4A's online two-hour ethics class. He will be reviewing contributions from A4A members, industry experts, advocates, and thought leaders.

The goal is to not only enrich and supplement the 2019 CFP® ethics class program but also to create a database of common ethics issues that professionals face, a reference for consumers as well as professionals about how financial professionals resolve ethical issues in accordance with the CFP Board’s Code of Conduct.

Submissions chosen for publication will be indexed in a library online. Crowdsourcing a database of shared professional stories about ethical and fiduciary problems and solutions will advance the profession and help consumers differentiate real financial professionals from financial services salespeople.

Please record yourself speaking to a camera, narrating a slide presentation, or write an article, about how you managed an ethical issue in an exemplary manner in compliance with the CFP Board of Standard’s Code of Conduct. For example:

  1. Holding yourself out as a fiduciary and accepting commissions for sale of investment products or insurance commissions.
  2. Use of fear in advertising to encourage clients to act
  3. Misleading a client by sharing the pros of a strategy or that it will achieve a specific guaranteed objective but failing to provide the cons of that strategy to the detriment of the client
  4. Feeling the pressure to recommend products not in a client’s best interest
  5. Advising clients on paying off their mortgage versus investing
  6. Disclosing financial planning fees, asset-based sliding scale and retainer fees
  7. Terminating a client who wanted services you did not provide
  8. Terminating a client for not following a plan
  9. Report unethical practices of another financial advisor, including a CFP® professional

Contributors to A4A's new 2019 ethics class for CFP® professionals will be listed on a publicly available page optimized for sharing public consumption and link back to your website (if you wish).


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