The Financial Planning Association says it is seeking legal recognition for the “financial planner” title.

According to the FPA, several financial services organizations and professionals have been discussing the idea of legal recognition “for years.” The FPA’s board of directors opted to pursue recognition in light of research showing that 78% of the association’s members are in favor of title protection, the FPA says.

Legal recognition for the title is particularly necessary as “policymakers continue to leave ‘financial planner’ undefined,” also leaving the possibility that “some will take liberties with the title,” the group said in its announcement.

Moreover, title protection would set up minimum standards for title holders without “an unnecessary regulatory burden,” according to the FPA.

Consumers, meanwhile, would be better served as a result of title protection, the group says.

The FPA expects to conduct “a multi-year advocacy effort,” according to the announcement. The group’s first step is to “engage” with its members, partners and other groups, in part to “explore the many potential strategies FPA may pursue,” the FPA said in the announcement.

"Financial planning is a true and noble profession that must require practitioners to achieve and maintain standards for competency and ethics," 2022 FPA president Dennis Moore said in the announcement. "The legal recognition of the term 'financial planner' through title protection is an acknowledgment that anyone proclaiming to be a financial planner meets minimum standards that protect consumers and advance the financial planning profession."

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