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News Release

Consumers Want Advisers to Focus on Financial Planning

August 19, 2013

Survey Shows Americans Looking for Holistic Financial Advice and Competent Advisers with a Financial Planning Certification

Nearly all Americans expect a financial adviser to take into account their entire financial situation with more than two-thirds wanting advisers to provide comprehensive financial planning services, according to a new survey released today by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board).

Conducted by survey research firm ORC International, the online survey of more than 1,000 Americans 18 years of age or older showed that 91 percent of those surveyed said they want their financial adviser to take into account their total financial situation.  And 70 percent of those surveyed also said they would prefer to work with a financial adviser who provides comprehensive financial planning services, compared to 30 percent who said they want to work with someone who specializes only in one area such as retirement.

“As Americans’ finances become more and more complex, they are turning to advisers who can partner with them, look at their total financial picture, put all the pieces together and provide a comprehensive financial plan,” said CFP Board Chief Executive Officer Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “CFP® professionals are uniquely qualified to provide Americans with financial planning services and we hope current and future clients will ask their adviser to partner with them and create a comprehensive financial plan.”

Certifications are also important to Americans when choosing a financial adviser, with 84 percent of those surveyed saying they play a role in choosing someone to work with. When it comes to what kind of certifications financial advisers should have, 87 percent said they would feel more confident working with someone who has a financial planning certification. Of those surveyed, 68 percent also preferred working with someone who has a certification or designation that “demonstrate(s) knowledge of multiple financial areas” such as investments, taxes, insurance and budgeting.

Another highlight of the survey showed that nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) said “strong knowledge of financial planning” was most important to them in choosing a financial adviser, with 64 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 saying it was most important. The survey also showed that there seems to be an opportunity for current and prospective financial advisers, as only 41 percent of Americans report ever having worked with an adviser.

“As this survey shows, Americans want advisers who are competent in financial planning and have a designation to prove it,” said Keller. “Fortunately for both advisers and the American public, the CFP® certification is the standard for financial planning, providing financial professionals with the tools they need to help clients put together a picture of their entire financial lives.”

More information about the CFP® certification and how to earn it can be found at Americans looking to learn more about financial planning and to find a CFP® professional in their area should visit

Note on Methodology and Survey Report

The online survey was conducted August 8-11, 2013 among a national sample of 1,012 adults consisting of 504 men and 508 women 18 years of age and older. Results are weighted by age, gender, region, race and education to be representative of the U.S. adult population.

A copy of the survey report by ORC International can be accessed here or at