IAQFP was officially formed in June 2001, primarily as an advocacy “group” then known as the “Concerned Planners Group”, by Paul M. League, CFP® and Gib Kerr, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU.
Our focus was to bring together all those persons trained and credentialed in the Financial Planning (“FP”) methodology and discipline, so that we could speak in one voice about changes our constituency saw as vitally necessary to growing a profession.
What was clear was that the primary influencers (CFP Board and the FPA) were taking Stakeholders down a path that they did not like, and in the process Stakeholders interests, as well as those of the public, were not being properly considered.
Stakeholder popular demand caused us to expand to better address the ongoing and evolving concerns of our constituency, and so in March 2003 we evolved into the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION of QUALIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS (“IAQFP”), and introduced our single, unifying designation (moniker), for the profession and its professionals; namely: QFP — Qualified Financial Planner.
We did this to unite the profession, as well as to bring focus and distinction to the Financial Planning skill set and field, along with simplifying the designations and credentials “alphabet soup” from 5 competing designations (ChFC®, PFS™, CFP®, MSFS & MS, the latter two with a concentrated study of the Financial Planning methodology) into a single, unifying, designation: QFP — Qualified Financial Planner. The public had enough confusion over who is who…and Stakeholders needed to respond!
The IAQFP Unification Initiative:
As a part of our natural evolution, IAQFP set about attempting to unite the profession by trying to bring together all substantially equivalent credentialing programs and their various designations, specific to the Financial Planning methodology, under a single identifier; however, resistance surfaced as the various credentialing entities (i.e., The American College; the CFP Board) did not want to give up their “turf.” None of them would agree to come under the other’s designation as a means of achieving unification.
IAQFP, being left with no alternative, chose another way forward in achieving this much desired and also needed unification, resulting in the implementation of the following:
- To distinguish the field of Financial Planning from the more generalized fields of insurance, finance, accounting, law, etc.
- To introduce a designation for the profession that would accomplish unification and a simplifying of the “designations alphabet soup” to lessen public confusion over who’s who.
- To introduce a venue where the public, for free, would be urged to both verify and find properly and thoroughly vetted, Financial Planning professionals.
A significant aspect of this initiative involved IAQFP formalizing its vetting functions of carefully researching the criteria used by the various issuers of the varying credentials, and determining which of those had essentially equivalent criteria of: education, exam, ethics, and experience, covering the Financial Planning methodology and learned discipline. The result is that in addition to IAQFP being, at its core, a voluntary Membership organization, we also serve and function as the nation’s, and the professions, accrediting and certifying body.
Designation unification was achieved by the consolidation and unifying of 5 designations (ChFC®, PFS™, CFP®, MSFS & MS, the latter two with a concentrated study of the Financial Planning methodology and learned discipline) under 1 universal, single identifier: QFP — Qualified Financial Planner.
The next aspect of this IAQFP Unification Initiative was the introduction of the QFP Verification Registry of Qualified Financial Planners — a FREE, 24/7, online public resource located at www.IAQFP.org/qfp_registry that consists of only those Financial Planning professionals that are IAQFP Certified—Financial Planners.
QFP Registry Registrants & IAQFP Members adhere to the professions highest IAQFP-Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct, which are a part of the broader IAQFP Standards, and that are together backed by an online Complaint & Disciplinary process to help in better protecting the public interest and in keeping the QFP Verification Registry “clean.”
Having succeeded in fulfilling these foundational principles, IAQFP continues to appeal to all those holding out as Financial Planners, to join the IAQFP solution by Registering and by also becoming active, fully participating, IAQFP Members.
When professionals fail to act and support solutions like ours, governmental authorities will step in, often accompanied by unintended negative consequences. The pendulum then swings too far often resulting in draconian changes that really do not result in effectively benefiting either the profession or the much deserving public.
Evidence of this is seen in the recent passage of DOL Fiduciary Law, which we contend to have been largely unnecessary, since our IAQFP Standards, QFP Verification Registry, and other valued resources accomplish far better (more practical and cost effective) public protections.
IAQFP continues to advocate on behalf of the profession and against such ill-conceived CFP Board and FPA initiatives as their so-called “Financial Planning Coalition” and the long-standing CFP Board initiative of becoming SRO/PRO (Self-Regulatory Organization) of the Financial Planning profession (see here for Article(s) & Initiatives addressing such matters)—something Stakeholders DO NOT WANT and the public does not need.
The facts remain that the public needs access to more QFP, not less, and at affordable pricing so that more, not fewer persons, can be served.
The profession needs to remain wary of attempts that steer it towards an assets under management orientation and away from what are its’ core principles; namely, not posing as “specialists” competent in every financial discipline, but rather generalists who bring to a planning situation a broad, general awareness, of risks and potentials. And, as “generalists”, know when to coordinate and bring in professionals of other discipline’s, for their expertise, so as to arrive at the best planning solution and outcomes for their customers.
We trust that if you hold out as, and believe you are, a qualified “Financial Planner”, that you too will voluntarily Register/Join IAQFP, thereby becoming recognized as an IAQFP Certified—Financial Planner, universally identified as: QFP — Qualified Financial Planner.