Bankers set to rejoin CFP fold, insiders say

By Doug Watt | January 30, 2003 | Last updated on January 30, 2003
3 min read

(January 30, 2003) After a five-year absence, the Institute of Canadian Bankers is ready to again join forces with the Financial Planners Standards Council and start supporting the Certified Financial Planner designation, sources say.

The ICB and FPSC have not yet confirmed the move, but an announcement from the ICB is expected early next week. talked to several prominent industry insiders who insist it’s a done deal. .

“It’s going to happen,” one insider said.

“The CFP is the brand and I think the bankers have realized that,” another insider said. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

It’s believed that ICB will become an accredited CFP course provider, but will not seek full partner organization status with the FPSC. Six professional associations, including Advocis, the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, are partner members.

It’s not known at this time what the move would mean for the ICB’s internal mark, the Personal Financial Planner designation, given the FPSC’s preference that its members promote only the CFP. That will likely be one of the issues the institute will clarify with its announcement, expected on Tuesday.

The ICB resigned from the FPSC, along with the Canadian Securities Institute, in April 1998. The ICB split was largely due to the FPSC’s commitment to the CFP as a single standard designation, Advisor’s Edge magazine reported in its June 1998 edition.

“The banks fully appreciate the need for recognized standards, but one size does not fit all,” said Dan Thompson, then the ICB’s director of professional relations and promotion, quoted in the Advisor’s Edge 1998 article. “We disagree fundamentally with the approach taken by the council to establish a single designation. The CFP doesn’t take into consideration the wide spectrum of financial needs and therefore is not in the best interest of consumers.”

That was the public statement. But there was a lot more going on behind the scenes. “Certainly there were personality issues,” an industry veteran who was involved in the dispute told “The bankers were more parochial. Their attitude was ‘we’re big and we can control the world and we don’t need anyone else and we’re going to have our own program.'”

It’s also believed that the ICB was concerned about the expense of putting its bank professionals through the CFP and the difficulty of the program, compared to the PFP.

So what’s changed since 1998? One source suggests that the ICB has realized that the CFP is getting a level of respect beyond the PFP. “PFP is considered CFP-light,” the source said. “PFP is an internal thing and does not have broad consumer acceptance.”

“PFP has no brand name,” one advisor said. “If you’ve got one planner with a PFP and one with a CFP, which is more impressive? Certainly a majority will say the CFP gives more comfort. So you have to give the FPSC credit about their branding of the mark, they’ve done a good job there.”

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Doug Watt