August 16, 2010
The CFP Board's direction of movement for ALL in the insurance financial services / products industry and personal relationships with your planner is moving. Away from servicing the most people they can, toward fee based only.
Before explaining where I stand, here's where I sit. The CFPr is the most difficult test I've ever taken - four times to be precise. I'm told around 50% of those sitting for the testing pass the first time and the percentage drops for retakes. Received mine about 7 years ago, then went on through the American College to get my CLU ChFC CASL. I've been with my company 28 years. I have a BS in speech from Illinois Wesley, an AA in electronics from Pikes Peak Community College. I'm going to take a new planner course from the College of Financial Planning in Denver (where the CFPr was spawned) in 2011. I help clients with insurance (my bread and butter) and financial products including Mutual Funds and Bank products.
My reasoning for the CFPr additional designations is to better serve my clients offering them little or no cost financial planning. My target is middle america.
Middle america is poorly served and very hungry for help. The CFPr Board and my company clashed in 2008 over a shift by the CFPr board to make the CFPr and anyone else selling insurance and or financial products have their fiduciary responsibility ALWAYS with the client. A clear move to fee based only planners. My company told me I could continue being a CFPr or work for them and "hang up" my CFPr by 12/31/08. Easy choice. I'd starve serving middle america as a CFPr. And there is the rub the CFPr mantle is the gold standard.
I pointed out, several times, this to the CFPr board (with no response) you are going to take away serving the people who need us the most. The well healed client will always be able to afford a CFPr (who are more more fee based only). Fee based is fine, I'm not into that. I am into serving the most clients I can from my insurance based agency. By having to be responsible ultimately to the client when I sell a boat policy is not what the insurance industry wants. No problem with that, either. What I don't understand: I can have my company's best interest and my client's best interest in mind and practice - they are not mutually exclusive. A mechanic wants to feed his family (one interest) and take care of his client's car (another interest.)
What the CFPr board, in direct contrast to their own "rules" to serve the most people they can (paraphrased), is doing is to cut off 80% (my figure, but I bet I'm close) of America from the gold standard in financial planning, a CFPr. I suggested to the CFPr board to have an additional designation for those of us who sell and plan versus those planners only. CFPr baord is working on national legislation on fiduciary responsibility.
Personal relationships versus online or 1800 transactions is a basic difference in "service" "commoditization." Some people have the time, energy and "smarts" to do well on their own. (Warren Buffet comes to mind...) More don't. I favor personal relationships I am more of a teacher showing clients basic strokes, how to tread water, swim when they can't touch bottom and not panic. I'm still doing that... without the letter's behind my name that drew clients to me and client's could research to find that the CFPr is the way to go. Why not offer the best for your clients?
Wm. David Beadles, CLU CASL ChFC
719 632 5433