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News Release

Financial Planning: One Small Step 50 Years Ago

December 12, 2019

One Small Step in 1969 Sparks a Profession That Has Delivered Holistic Financial Advice to Millions of Americans

The financial planning profession turns 50 years old today.

On December 12, 1969, a cold day in Chicago, the movement toward a financial planning profession was sparked by a meeting of 13 individuals who came together to discuss a better way of providing financial advice. These pioneers saw the need for a profession that integrated knowledge and practices across the many fragmented areas of financial services – what we know today as financial planning.

“The profession has never been stronger and the opportunities have never been greater,” said Kevin Keller, CAE, CEO of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, a standards-setting professional body acting in the public interest. CFP Board fosters professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements for CFP® certification.

“It is appropriate for all financial planning professionals to pause today and reflect on ways to continue the profession’s strong momentum,” added Susan John, CFP®, CFP Board Chair.

Fifty years ago, these pioneers took the first step to build a holistic profession that benefits the public by meeting Americans’ varied financial needs. To do so, they created the International Association for Financial Planning and the College for Financial Planning and initiated the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification, which is today administered in the U.S. by CFP Board.

CFP Board continues to focus and build on that vision. The Board has adopted and enhanced a rigorous Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct that outlines ethical and competency standards for CFP® professionals and provides important consumer protections. The most recent iteration of the Code and Standards, which went into effect on October 1, 2019, introduced several new requirements for CFP® professionals, the cornerstone of which is the extension of a CFP® professional’s fiduciary duty.

CFP Board has helped thousands of professionals become certified and has contributed to the advancement and improvement of financial planning practice. Today, nearly 86,000 professionals in the U.S. hold CFP® certification, representing about one of every four financial advisors.


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 83,000 people in the United States.


Dan Drummond, Director of Communications
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