Investor Education Should Be Personalized and Accessible
June 22, 2011 (PRNewswire-USNewswire) In letter to SEC, CFP Board says current investor education is "less than desirable;" provides examples of own efforts to educate the public with a focus on financial planning
education needs to greatly improve and should incorporate the value of comprehensive financial planning, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. wrote in a comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"The American public has a great need for information and assistance with financial matters. We believe investor education is important and that Americans should have a strong understanding of basic financial concepts," said CFP Board Chief Executive Officer Kevin R. Keller, CAE. "We also recognize that personal finance is personal--one person's life goals and financial resources may differ dramatically from those of another person, and there is no one investment strategy or financial plan that will fit all situations. CFP Board's efforts in investor education center around educating investors about personal financial issues and the benefits of connecting the public with Certified Financial Planner(TM) professionals who are qualified to provide objective financial planning advice and who are held to a fiduciary standard that places the best interests of their clients ahead of their own."
The letter was in response to a request for comment from the SEC on its study of investor education programs as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The letter can be found here.
Noting that "the current level of investor understanding of financial services and financial products is less than desirable," Keller said investor education efforts "at a minimum" should consist of two basic components: Education of basic financial concepts and availability of professional resources. To that end, CFP Board, a 501(c)(3) organization, has focused its investor education efforts on the benefits of financial planning and the ability of Certified Financial Planner(TM) professionals to help individuals meet their financial life goals.
These education efforts include, among other things, partnerships with multiple Federal agencies and their financial education programs; publication of education materials; supporting a consumer advocate program to reach mainstream media and consumers; a Financial Planning Days initiative that brings free one-on-one financial planning to consumers; and an advertising campaign aimed at increasing the public's awareness of financial planning and the CFP(R) designation.