Consumer Guide to
What you must know and do to prevent financial abuse
It should surprise no one that Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. — whose core mission is to serve the public — would publish a “self-defense guide.”
At CFP Board, we take the responsibility to protect American savers and investors very seriously. It is why we insist that CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals adhere to a fiduciary standard of care, which requires them to put the interests of the client first. It is also why we uphold the CFP® certification as the standard of excellence for personal financial planning
As the CEO of CFP Board, I have found recent events particularly disturbing. Fraud and mismanagement by financial professionals have undermined consumer confidence. CFP Board is in an ideal position to advance the protection of consumers from fraudulent, unethical practices that can put their financial futures at risk.
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CFP Board’s consumer advocate, Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, has written this guide as a first line of defense for consumers who may be vulnerable to the minority of financial advisors who do not practice according to the highest ethical standards. It is written in dedication to those who have been hurt by, or victims of, financial fraud and mismanagement.
In these pages, CFP Board’s consumer advocate alerts consumers to some of the common behaviors that warn of fraudulent or unethical practices on the part of a financial advisor. She describes these “red flags” and their potential consequences, lists the things that consumers should do to protect themselves, and provides information on how to file an official complaint if unethical or incompetent practices are suspected. I encourage you to use this guide as a tool to protect yourself and your loved ones.
This guide, however, is just a starting point. To truly protect your financial status, seek the advice of an advisor who will put your interests first. A list of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals in your area is available on CFP Board’s Web site (www.CFP.net/search). The site also offers a wealth of financial planning information specifically designed to protect and educate consumers. I wish you success in your pursuit of financial well-being.
Kevin R. Keller, CAE
CEO, CFP Board
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