It can be notoriously difficult to pick a financial planner. Sure, if you go with a major firm, you’ll get someone who has the requisite licenses and maybe a bit of training. Aside from that, however, how do you really know what the differentiators are? Some are obviously better than others, but if you knew what really makes a solid financial planner, you’d probably be able to just do it yourself.
In the financial world, the “CFP” designation is fairly widely known as a key indicator of knowledge and experience. I’ve seen planners drool when catching a glimpse of those three letters on a competitor’s business card. The investing public, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be as aware.
Well, that’s about to change.
The Certified Financial Planners Board is launching its first public awareness campaign in a move to remedy this problem. With “Let’s Make a Plan,” the board is pumping $36 million into a four-year effort to increase the visibility of CFPs with print advertising, television commercials and online ads. The board is trying to reach people between ages 35 and 65 with $100,000 to $1 million in investable assets.
In the rough-and-tumble world of financial planning, the campaign also seeks to generate a lead stream, it seems, for the 62,400 or so CFPs in the United States.
The goal, of course, is for the designation to resonate with investors, ostensibly to the benefit of the 62,400-strong group of CFPs in the United States. The toll-free phone number and campaign microsite, www.letsmakeaplan.org, provide benefit beyond visibility to CFPs who are competing with the rabble in a world where their efforts at training and education don’t necessarily ring a bell.
Accountants have benefited from the CPA designation, but financial planners have had to push along without the benefit of a strong brand behind the credential. This bold move is a step in the right direction.