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Refreshing CFP Board's Strategic Priorities

CFP Board’s Board of Directors is engaged in a thorough and inclusive process that will lead to a new set of strategic priorities.

By Jack Brod, CFP® and Kevin Keller, CAE October 21, 2020

In support of its mission, CFP Board establishes a strategic plan to focus our work on initiatives aligned with the direction established by the Board of Directors. Our current strategic plan is focused on the strategic priorities of Awareness, Access, Accountability and Authority — what we call the “Four A’s.” That plan was launched in 2017 and anticipated to take us through 2021.

While we still have some time left under that plan, the Board of Directors has been dedicating significant time and energy to begin preparing for a refreshed strategy. The outcome will be a new strategic plan for CFP Board, which we expect the Board to adopt next year at its July 2021 meeting.

Because CFP Board has an important role in the advancement of the entire profession, we are approaching the process with a broad, profession-wide perspective before we narrow down to the areas where CFP Board can make the most impact.

The process started in earnest last December, which you may recall was the 50th anniversary of a pivotal meeting that is considered the birth of the financial planning profession. We took that occasion to convene a forum of nearly a hundred leaders from across the financial advice ecosystem to discuss the future of financial planning. The conversations at the forum outlined the beginnings of a shared picture of future success for the financial planning profession.

We collectively identified key factors that must be addressed in order to accelerate the development of a profession that is recognized and sought-after. We released a summary of that meeting in a publication titled “The Future of The Financial Planning Profession,” and since the December 2019 meeting, CFP Board’s Board of Directors has continued the strategic dialogue.

Our Board and staff have been discussing the outcomes of the forum and working to refine some of the key elements discussed at the forum. That work led us to outline several key elements needed for an established financial planning profession, which fall under the three broad categories of Consumer/Public, Professional Practitioner, and Professional Workforce. For each element, we considered where we currently are, what opportunities and barriers exist, what research and findings relate to the element and, most importantly, what we want to see in the future. And we developed concise “future desired state” statements for each element.

Some of the elements clearly reflect CFP Board’s role and impact in the profession. For example, there are elements for competency standards, ethical standards, and standards enforcement. Other elements reflect areas that will require the participation of organizations beyond CFP Board, such as making financial planning an attractive career choice and establishing clear career paths. We have worked collaboratively to take a high-level view of the profession, informed by the discussions at the December 2019 forum.

Last month, we shared our thinking about these 15 elements during a roundtable meeting with thought leaders from across the profession to get a variety of feedback, including from the perspectives of practitioners, firms, educators and the general public. We had rich, insightful discussion and have made further progress toward a shared vision and roadmap for the profession. We are taking insights from these discussions to refine the future desired state statements for each key element.

We are also socializing those key elements more broadly through a survey of CFP® professionals. The survey will help us determine which areas our CFP® professionals think are important for CFP Board’s work, and where they think CFP Board can make the most impact. The Board of Directors will review the survey findings as part of its ongoing strategic review of CFP Board’s future priorities.

This thorough and inclusive process is leading CFP Board to a new set of strategic priorities. And it has covered ground that will benefit the profession as a whole, so we hope our work is helpful to all of the organizations that contribute to the profession. With a shared vision for the profession’s future, we can each identify our respective roles and identify effective strategies for moving forward.

We look forward to continuing the discussion, to hearing our CFP® professionals’ input on the key elements, and to incorporating those insights in the Board’s work on our next strategic plan.

About the Authors: Jack Brod, CFP® is Chair of CFP Board's Board of Directors. Kevin Keller, CAE is Chief Executive Officer of CFP Board. CFP Board’s mission is 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.