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News Release

Research Conducted by CFP Board Identifies Trends That Help CFP® Professionals Stay Prepared to Serve Clients, Adds to Financial Planning Body of Knowledge

January 28, 2015
CFP Board conducts largest research project on financial planning in the United States, used to identify trends and shape CFP Board’s Examination and Education requirements 

Results of the largest financial planning research project in the United States released today by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. identified five emerging trends that will lead to better client outcomes, contribute to the body of knowledge for CFP® certification and the financial planning profession.

The research was conducted over the course of a year and was validated by more than 3,700 CFP® professionals and educators, which found that these five areas – Retirement Savings and Income Planning; Education Planning; Holistic and Integrated Financial Planning; Healthcare; and Debt Management – were most top of mind. The research also reveals insights into the tasks currently being performed by CFP® professionals and the knowledge requirements needed to fulfill and serve the interests of clients.
“This is the largest research project devoted to financial planning in the U.S. This research is critical to our mission at CFP Board to benefit the public by granting and upholding the CFP® certification as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical financial planning. It impacts everything from our educational curriculum requirements and developing questions for our exam to how we shape our continuing education criteria and respond to current trends and needs in the profession,” said CFP Board’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “The structure and comprehensive nature of this research also helps to further define the profession’s body of knowledge and ensures we get a thorough understanding of the issues facing CFP® professionals and their clients today, as well as the emerging trends.”

CFP Board, in partnership with one of the world’s largest testing firms, conducts the job task analysis (JTA) research every five years to identify trends and assess the relevance of certification requirements. The results form the basis for an evaluation of current certification requirements and any recommendations for changes by CFP Board, including the Education, Examination, and Continuing Education requirements.

The JTA is one of the tools that CFP Board uses to maintain the highest standard for financial planning professionals so they can help tackle important and current issues facing their clients. The research also closely examines emerging trends with leaders in practice and the industry.  With the need and demand for financial planners growing, the JTA helps assure current and future CFP® professionals that the CFP® certification is the most useful and relevant certification to prepare them to meet the needs of their clients and helps assure the public that CFP® certification is the highest standard.

Find more information about the research and download the new lists of Principal Knowledge Topics and Job Task Domains

Insights offered by CFP® professionals include:

Retirement Savings and Income Planning:  “As baby boomers are set retire over the next few years, we’re seeing an increased need for retirement planning and CFP® professionals have the know-how to help these retirees have an enjoyable and secure retirement.” – Charles McDonald, CFP®

Education Planning: “It’s often in the news that students are leaving college with growing amounts of debt and new parents (and grandparents) are asking more questions about saving for their children’s (and grandchildren’s) education. We know how to help set aside the right amount for college without burdening your budget now.”  – Kara Elbert, CFP®

Holistic and Integrated Financial Planning: “Family dynamics are changing and by updating our education coursework requirements and examinations, CFP Board ensures that our CFP® professionals know how to advise all families – single parent, same-sex couples, blended families – at any stage of life or facing any variety of circumstances, including divorce, change in employment, or disabled child.” – Angus Blackwood, CFP®

Healthcare: “The Affordable Care Act is influencing planning and decision-making of people nearing retirement and Medicare enrollment; many are contemplating career changes that would give them greater independence but lose guaranteed benefits. Having ACA-provided insurance as a possibility is positive, but they are looking at costs and potential changes to the law in the coming years. Supplemental insurance and long-term care issues continue to be an area of interest as prices of health care increase against budgetary concerns and life expectancy.” – Howard Weiss, CFP®

Debt Management: “Debt can be a drain on a person’s future financial success. Many don’t know where to begin as they work to pay off debt. Consulting a CFP® professional can put those with debt on a path to succeed with their finances.” – Trisha Arndt, CFP®

The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. 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. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board's mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® professionals and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.  CFP Board currently authorizes more than 71,000 individuals to use these marks in the U.S.

CONTACT: Dan Drummond, Director of External Communications P: 202-379-2252 M: 202-243-8621 E: Twitter: @cfpboardmedia