As a part of our natural evolution, IAQFP set about attempting to further unite the profession by endeavoring to bring together all substantially equivalent credentialing programs and their various designations that are 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; et al) 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, introduced another way forward in achieving this much desired and also necessary unification, through implementation of the following:
- To distinguish the field of Financial Planning from the more generalized fields of insurance, finance, accounting, real estate, law, etc.
- To introduce a designation for the profession that would accomplish unification and a simplifying of the “designations alphabet soup/maze” to thereby lessen public confusion over who is who.
- To introduce a venue where the public, for free, is urged to both verify and can 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 the professions accrediting and certifying body, and are known in that capacity as the organization that issues IAQFP Certified—Financial Planner designation QFP — Qualified Financial Planner.
Designation unification was thereby achieved by the consolidation and unifying of 5 Financial Planning designations (ChFC®, PFS™, CFP®, MSFS & MS, the latter two with a concentrated study of the Financial Planning methodology and learned discipline) under a single, universal and unifying designation: 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, consisting of only those Financial Planning professionals who are IAQFP Certified—Financial Planners and who are In-Good Standing with IAQFP Standards and other criteria.
QFP Registry Registrants & IAQFP Members adhere to the professions highest IAQFP—Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct, which are a part of the broader overall 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 building this foundation, IAQFP continues to appeal to all those holding out as Financial Planners, to join the IAQFP solution by Registering and by also becoming an active, fully participating, IAQFP Member.
When the professionals of a specific industry fail to act and support solutions like ours, governmental and/or quasi-governmental (SRO/PRO) authorities, like CFP Board, will step in, often accompanied by unintended negative consequences. The pendulum then swings too far the other way, often resulting in draconian changes that really do not result in effectively benefiting either the profession or a 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 help to 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” (CFP Board, FPA, and NAPFA) and the long-standing CFP Board initiative of becoming SRO/PRO (Self-Regulatory Organization) of the Financial Planning profession, something Stakeholders have consistently stood against and have determined unnecessary.
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 best served.
Financial Planners need to remain wary of attempts that steer them, and the profession, towards the creation of an SRO/PRO, and also from an “assets gathering/assets under management” focus or orientation. Why? The majority of prospective client’s simply do not have those kinds of resources to Plan with, and they cannot afford the kinds of Rates that such overregulation and control by an SRO have already brought about, and that will only be compounded.
Financial Planners need to stick to the professions core principles; namely, not posing as “specialists” competent in every financial discipline, but rather as generalists who have the learned broad (general) awareness of risks and potentials, and therefore know when and who to bring into a Financial Planning client-planner situation for the best overall interests of their client. As “generalists”, they also 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 Financial Planning clientele.
We trust that if you hold out as, and believe you are, a qualified “Financial Planner”, that you too will voluntarily submit to the IAQFP Standards, criteria, and vetting process…and then to Register/Join IAQFP, thereby also becoming recognized as an IAQFP Certified—Financial Planner.