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FPSB CEO Update: “The discussion needs to be planner AND adviser.”

By Noel Maye, FPSB CEO

During the first week of March, I joined FPSB’s Examinations Working Group, FPSB’s Experience & Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Working Group and the FPSB Standards Committee in Dubai, UAE. Altogether, we had 16 CFP professionals, academics and association leaders, put forward by FPSB member organizations, who worked for three days to present recommendations to the FPSB Standards Committee on education and assessment standards, and guidance for evaluating and promoting a meaningful global experience and CPD standard for CFP certification. This great group of dedicated volunteers rolled into town, rolled up their sleeves, and produced some great work that we’ll take into our global FPSB meeting in April in Hong Kong.

When you get that many people from so many territories together to discuss the current and future state of the financial planning profession, the debate is guaranteed to be lively. You’ve seen this type of debate on Financial Planet, and know that while discussions can get heated, they never get hostile, a testament to the collegiality and professionalism of the global financial planning community. A key theme was the “squeeze” we’re experiencing as regulators push for increased competency, ethics, transparency and professionalism from financial advisers, narrowing the gap (perceived and otherwise) between financial planners and financial advisers, and making our effort to distinguish between the two groups more difficult.

In reviewing the competency profiles for Financial Planner and Financial Adviser, the working group debate gradually shifted from the notion of planner versus adviser to embrace the reality that, more often than not, the discussion needs to be planner AND adviser. The group consensus was that the global FPSB network had a role to play in defining the “professional financial advice space” for both advisers and planners – that our value proposition was the professional process-driven, client-centric, strategic and integrative nature of the advice provided by those certified by FPSB and FPSB member organizations, be they CFP professionals, FPSB Accredited financial advisers or people recognized by FPSB member organizations as being on the pathway to CFP certification. The Dubai working groups’ output will inform the discussion on this topic at the FPSB meeting in Hong Kong, as will additional work to be carried out by FPSB’s Regulations Advisory Panel in Washington, D.C., the second week of April.

Ian Johnston, FPSB Board member and chief executive of the Dubai Financial Services Authority, updated the working groups by saying that the recent global economic prognosis has caused global regulators to refocus on systemic issues, diverting attention away from remuneration and intermediary matters to prudential issues and systemic risk management for the next six to 12 months. Our expectation is that some regulators could quickly move to replicate advice oversight models emerging in Australia and the U.K., and FPSB and its member organizations still have work to do in consolidating our value proposition in the professional advice space. However, it’s likely that regulators will return to adviser remuneration and minimum CPD requirements shortly, and it’s important that the FPSB network lead efforts to offer meaningful solutions to support regulatory efforts in these areas.

What are your thoughts on the “professional financial advice space” and distinctions between financial adviser and financial planner? How are regulatory trends in your territory shaping the practice of financial planning?

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