Skip to main content
About CFP Board


CFP Board was founded in 1985 to serve the public interest by promoting the value of professional, competent and ethical financial planning services, as represented by those who have attained CFP® certification.

Celebrating 50 Years

In 2023, CFP Board celebrated the 50th anniversary of CFP® certification.

To commemorate this event, CFP Board published The First 50 Years of CFP® Certification: The Standard for Financial Planning which is available for purchase in the CFP Board store.

Buy the book

CFP Board sets and enforces the requirements for CFP® certification, including:

  • Education
  • Examination
  • Experience
  • Ethics

Individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements are authorized to use the CFP® certification marks in the United States.

The Financial Planning Movement

The creation of CFP Board took place relatively early in the development of the movement that became known as the financial planning profession. This movement developed as a profession after World War II to help meet the financial needs of Americans.

The financial planning movement experienced a watershed moment on December 12, 1969, when 13 men gathered in Chicago and outlined the first steps to further the idea that people could benefit from a profession that integrated knowledge and practices across the various areas of the financial services industry. Resolutions were made to create the International Association for Financial Planners (IAFP) and the College for Financial Planning.

CFP® Certification is Created

In 1972, IAFP enrolled its very first group of students for the Certified Financial Planners (CFP) course at the College for Financial Planning. The 35 members of the first graduating class then formed a new membership organization called the Institute of Certified Financial Planners (ICFP) in 1973.

More than a decade after the launch of the educational program that led to the creation of the CFP® certification, it became clear that while the College had made great strides in developing the body of knowledge for financial planning professionals, an educational institution was not the proper entity to enforce the ethical standards for the profession.

CFP Board is Established

In 1985, The College entered an agreement to establish an independent, non-profit certifying and standards-setting organization. Ownership of the CFP® marks and responsibility for continuing the CFP® certification program was transferred to the new 501(c)(3) organization, International Board of Standards and Practices for Certified Financial Planners, Inc. (IBCFP), now known as CFP Board.

CFP Board Today

Today, CFP Board consists of two affiliated organizations, CFP Board Center for Financial Planning (a 501(c)(3) organization) and CFP Board of Standards (a 501(c)(6) organization), both of which are focused on achieving strategic priorities that advance the financial planning profession for the public’s benefit.

CFP Board continues to work to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning. Over the years, each of the certification requirements has been strengthened to ensure the CFP® certification's relevance for the public in need of competent and ethical personal advice.

CFP Board of Standards credentials competent and ethical financial planners, upholds CFP® certification as the recognized standard and advances the financial planning profession. It works with many educational institutions that help individuals obtain the body of professional knowledge required to practice financial planning, and we work alongside membership organizations that provide support to professionals who provide financial planning services to the public.

CFP Board Center for Financial Planning is bringing the profession together and securing its future by creating a sustainable supply of new and more diverse financial planners to replace the retiring workforce, and by building an academic home that offers opportunities for conducting and publishing new research, adding to the financial planning body of knowledge.

More than 100,000 professionals in the U.S. currently hold CFP® certification.


1985: International Board of Standards and Practices for Certified Financial Planners, Inc. (IBCFP) is created.

1986: CFP Board adopts a Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct that outlines ethical standards for CFP® professionals and outlines enforcement procedures for those standards in Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.

1987: CFP Board registers the first 25 institutions to offer financial planning education programs based on an approved curriculum.

1990: CFP Board establishes the International CFP Council. The Council works to promote the professionalism of financial planning services around the world and to ensure that such services are offered in an ethical and competent manner.

1991: CFP Board introduces a comprehensive CFP® Certification Examination to test individuals’ ability to integrate and apply the knowledge gained from the financial planning curriculum.

1994: IBCFP is re-named Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc.

1995: CFP Board's certification program earns accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (now the Institute for Credentialing Excellence). This accreditation was the first NCCA accreditation for a non-health related certification in the United States.

2004: Responsibility for administering the CFP certification program outside the U.S. is transferred from CFP Board and the International CFP Council to an independent organization, Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB).

2007: After more than 20 years of operations in Denver, CFP Board moves its office to Washington, DC.

2008: Significant revisions to the Standards of Professional Conduct take effect, including the requirement that CFP® professionals providing financial planning services adhere to a fiduciary standard of care.

2011: CFP Board launches a large-scale, national public awareness campaign to educate the public on financial planning and CFP® professionals.

2015: CFP Board establishes the Center for Financial Planning. The Center is uniquely positioned to bring firms, educators and practitioners together to leverage collective resources and address the challenges facing the profession.

2018: CFP Board adopts a new Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, effective October 1, 2019, which expands the scope of the fiduciary standard, requiring CFP® professionals to act in the best interest of the client at all times when providing financial advice.

2019: CFP Board celebrates the 50th anniversary of the financial planning profession by convening a roundtable meeting of leaders from across the financial advice ecosystem to develop a shared vision for the future of the financial planning profession.

2021: CFP Board’s latest Practice Analysis Study introduces a new Principal Knowledge Topic domain called the Psychology of Financial Planning. The Board of Directors adopts a strategic plan focused on the “Five Blocks” Strategic Priorities to guide CFP Board’s work from 2022-2026 and beyond.

2022: CFP Board publishes the groundbreaking book, The Psychology of Financial Planning. The Center for Financial Planning surpasses the milestone of more than $1 million awarded in scholarships since the launch of its first scholarship program in 2016.

2023: CFP Board establishes a 501(c)(6) professional organization to work alongside the existing 501(c)(3) organization, with both affiliated organizations focused on achieving strategic priorities that advance the financial planning profession for the public’s benefit. CFP Board celebrates the 50th anniversary of CFP® certification, a milestone that highlights a half-century of excellence in personal financial planning.