New Regulations Needed For Financial Planners?

So Says New Coalition

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™


The Financial Planning Coalition [FPC] is pushing for a law that would require anyone calling themselves a financial planner to meet certain ethical and educational standards and to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC].

About the FPC

According to its’ website, the Financial Planning Coalition is a collaboration of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board), the Financial Planning Association® (FPA), and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) to advise legislators and regulators on how to best protect consumers by ensuring financial planning services are delivered with fiduciary accountability and transparency. Americans have grown leery of those who work in financial services.

Currently, financial planning (the process of advising individuals and families across a range of personal finance topics in addition to investment advice) is unregulated as a profession, resulting in major gaps in current laws. So, is it really a “profession” many ask – void of any significant barrier to entry?

The Financial Planning Coalition intends to work with Congress to produce legislation that puts the interests of clients first and enables consumers to identify a trusted financial adviser.

To learn more about the Financial Planning Coalition’s purpose and mission, click here to read, or download the Statement of Understanding [PDF].

SEC Wrong Oversight Agency?

According to this report in Financial Advisor magazine, an advertiser-driven trade journal:

the standards would be set by a public oversight board that would be funded by small registration fees paid by the financial planners, said Robert Glovsky, chair of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards during a conference call today. The CFP Board, as well as the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors makes up the coalition.


However, brokers and insurance agents would not be forced to register as financial planners, but those who held themselves out as financial planners would have to meet the required minimum competency and ethics standards or stop using the financial planner title.


And so, as we have noted, written, preached and warned for more than a decade – anyone can call themselves a financial planner, or financial advisor; so beware medical colleagues.


NOTE: The fiduciary definitional standard conundrum was not even addressed in the article or by the committee, as far as I know. Moreover, note that SEC oversight was in place before, during and now after the Bernie Madoff scandal – so enough said about competency!


Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. What do you think FAs, and CFPs®? Should all become an RIA or ERISA styled fiduciary? Or, will this be another CFP® lite fiasco?

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Disclaimer: I am a former certified financial planner and CEO of the online program for fiduciary advisors working in the healthcare space.


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14 Responses

  1. Yeah! Sure?

    Harry Markopolis warned the SEC about Bernie Madoff, to no avail. This will be just another layer of worthless bureaucracy … er, ah … a governmental jobs creation program.



  2. Seymor

    Agreed. You may know your financial advisor, but many doctors do not? In fact, few people know that there are 2,613,000 financial advisors in the US. It is the fifth largest “vocation”, right after truck drivers and before janitors.

    Even fewer know that, unlike attorneys, doctors, nurses, and CPAs, the term “financial advisor” is a free title – there is no uniform legal standard or educational requirements.

    And, no one will get into trouble calling him/herself a financial advisor … pity!
    So, here are two interesting articles by Mike Zhuang on financial advisors.



  3. Hi Dr. Marcinko

    Regulating FA and CFP® Tax Preparers

    The IRS wants to regulate unlicensed tax preparers, such as Financial Advisors and Certified Financial Planners® thru competency testing and licensure. This mirrors recent increased quality requirements for CPAs, attorneys and EAs … and that’s a good thing!

    Unfortunately, the CFP Board of Standards may be attempting to secure an exemption for CFP® certification holders … and that’s a bad thing!



  4. These “financial advisors” don’t want to be fiduciaries

    The most vocal opposition to the push to make financial advisors more responsible to clients hasn’t come from Wall Street firms or giant banks, but a corner of the industry with a lot to lose – insurance companies.

    Of course this is because “agents” work for the company; not the client.
    It can not be any other way …. it’s agency law … stupid.



  5. Hello Barry,

    Please see the outreach letter below, sent to the American College, Kaplan and the College for Financial Planning.


    Dr. Barton, Dr. Arman, Kaplan and Mr. Hondros,
    [Press Info Request]

    Greetings from the Medical Executive-Post

    As you are aware, lawmakers and the public at large increasingly have come to realize that financial literacy, and “professional” accountability, needs to become a higher priority.

    Our nation’s more than two million “financial advisors” should never forget that sound financial health is a necessary condition for good physical and mental health, especially since most married couples argue about money more than anything else and financial distress is a leading cause of depression.

    Yet for example, even though The Certified Financial Planner designation is about to become more challenging to obtain [The Board of Standards this month approved a new prerequisite for its two-day certification exam – a 45-hour capstone course on financial planning] – representatives of the three largest CFP education programs—The American College, the College for Financial Planning, and Kaplan University—balked at the proposal.

    Would you care to repond?

    Is it not time for the more than 200 educational institutions that teach financial planning to pool their resources in hopes of becoming a credible watchdog of the nation’s financial health. And, dare we say – fiduciary accountability?

    Would you wish to comment on these and other related thoughts from Somanth Basu PhD, and Dr. David Marcinko, for our Medical Executive-Post readers and subscribers?

    Many thanks for your consideration.

    Ann Miller, RN, MHA


  6. Are CFP Standards too Low?

    Of course they are; and meaningless too. The entire industry is sales orientated; nothing more. And, where are Dr. Barton, Dr. Arman, Kaplan and Mr. Hondros anyway? No guts!

    Remember folks, when you do not respond, you allow others to frame the debate for you. Then again, Dr. Basu, Marcinko and other critics have been proven correct, time and time again.



  7. What Lower Industry Standards Bring

    A lack of fiduciary standards for the financial services industry means that FAs have a competitive advantage when they put the client first? So says this marketing guru!

    But, even more than marketing and competition … it is the right thing to do! And, we have been doing so since program inception.

    Ann Miller RN, MHA


  8. New “F” Regs?

    Poll: Advisors, Brokers Should Be Held To Same Standard Of Care

    A new survey finds strong support for applying the same obligation of care to investment advisors and brokers providing investment advice to retail clients.



  9. Fiduciaries – NOT!

    Some physicians and many investors believe everyone who provides financial advice is already a fiduciary, according to a survey released Wednesday by a group of investment adviser and consumer protection groups.

    But, this is not so!



  10. Do any of you agree that a specialized certificate, designation or a license in “due diligence” is a great idea to ensure your clients are safe and set you apart from the rest?

    Dr. Joel M. DiCicco, CPA
    [VP – Portfolio Management]


  11. Dr Joel DiCicco,

    Thanks for the post comments

    All of us at the Institute of Medical Business Advisors Inc. are dedicated to the education, advancement and promotion of the CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER™ professional designation.

    The asynchronous live online distance education program with professional certification and copyrighted marks, integrate specific insider niche knowledge of healthcare economics and medical practice administration – with the wealth management and financial services industry – to empower charter holders with the tools, techniques, templates and management information needed to provide comprehensive personal financial planning and business consulting services to all medical professionals.

    With knowledge gained from this revolutionary learning platform, you’ll begin to understand the new economic paradigm of the healthcare industrial complex. This expertise will not only enhance the loyalty of existing physician-client relationships, but the CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER™ charter-designation may just become the ultimate competitive advantage for recruiting new doctors, and retaining mature practitioners in any advisory practice (i.e., CFP, CLU, JD, MBA, PhD, CPA/EA, CFA, CIMA or IBD, RIA; etc).

    Our national medical synergy is branded healthcare specificity; while our strategic competitive advantage is fiduciary responsibility … Sustainability is through collegiality, R&D and domestic as well as international dialog!

    And so, you are invited to visit our website for more information about our curriculum, books, dictionaries, white-papers, tools, templates, institutional journal, and referral network.

    An application for matriculation is located online.
    We are available by email 24/7, or to schedule a discussion.

    Thanks for your interest in our important work.

    Eugene Schmuckler; PhD, MBA
    Academic Dean of Admissions


  12. Dr. David E. Marcinko, MBA, CFP

    After reviewing your resume posted on Career Builder, I would like to invite you to learn more about a position with Mutual of Omaha for an Insurance-Based Financial Advisor. We currently have an opening for this position in the Atlanta area.

    Some advantages of this position are:

    -Opportunity for unlimited income potential
    -Flexibility to set your own schedule
    -Office and field training and support
    -Ability to market and sell Mutual of Omaha’s products and services

    If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please visit the website below and click “apply now”. Fill out the information card to talk with me directly about this position.

    Thanks so much and look forward to speaking with you!

    Tiffany Evans
    [ABA Recruiting]
    Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company


  13. Tiffany,

    Is this [the above job opportunity] a fiduciary position of trust? Please advise.
    Thank you.

    Ann Miller RN MHA


  14. Court Orders Ex-NAPFA President To Pay

    Former NAPFA president James Putnam has been ordered to pay $1.6 million in a case in which the SEC charged he committed fraud and breached his fiduciary duty.



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