CFP Board to Grant Continuing Education Credit for Technology

CFP Board to Grant Continuing Education Credit for Technology

In a major policy shift, the CFP Board plans to grant continuing education (CE) credit for technology programs. The CFP Board has not historically granted CE for programs on computer hardware and software. This policy was based upon the fact that their list of Principal Knowledge topics does not include technology hardware and software. Given the fact that an advisor cannot competently serve a client today without technology, the CFP Board’s previous stance of technology education has become increasingly difficult to defend. The new Code and Standards have opened the door for the CFP Board to change their policy.

The Principle Knowledge topics do include ethical and practice standards. The CFP Board’s new Code and Standards addresses technology in the practice of financial planning. So, as a result of the new Standards, examples of technology that are now being accepted for CE include:

  • Strategies to protect a client’s personal data and privacy
  • Understanding and leveraging technology to diversify portfolios
  • Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and Blockchain
  • Cybersecurity and Cybertechnology
  • Incorporating robo-advising options for clients to self-manage parts of their portfolio
  • Digital advice tools that allow a CFP professional to provide professional services to a client and gain an understanding of the assumptions and outcomes of the technology

Some topics that will not be considered for CE Credit include:

  • Practice Management (i. e. training on Microsoft Office)
  • Public Accounting
  • Marketing or prospecting, sales or sales related tools and software (i.e. CRM software)
  • Any topic not included in the CP Board’s 72 Principal Knowledge Topics

Some topics that are allowed under the new guidelines, for example cybersecurity, can still be declined credit if they are primarily of a practice management nature, and not client focused. Here are examples of topics that would be denied credit:

  • Practical Cybersecurity Steps for Your Firm (denied because it is practice management for the firm, not the client)
  • Technology and Education Planning Webinar (denied because the focus was to promote and teach the firm’s proprietary software)

Here at T3, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to Susan John, the Chair of the CFP Board. We are aware that she was instrumental in finally according the topic of technology the status it has long deserved. There are a number of others who I am sure were instrumental in achieving this policy change. We thank all of you.

While the granting of CE credit is a welcome first step in updating the CFP Board’s policies concerning technology, there is still work to be done. We would argue that the Principal Knowledge Topics list needs to be expanded. The CFP Board will have an opportunity to do so in 2020 when their next practice analysis takes place. The role of technology in the university CFP programs needs to be expanded as well. It is understandable that these changes will take a bit longer to achieve, but we are gratified to see that there is some real momentum to better align the body of knowledge that the CFP Board recognizes with what is actually going on in the real world. As someone who has been advocating for 20 years for this change in policy, it is very gratifying to see it finally come to fruition.

Joel Bruckenstein
Joel Bruckenstein
Joel P. Bruckenstein, CFP®, is Publisher of the T3 Tech Hub (formerly the T3 newsletter) and the producer of the Technology Tools for Today (T3) Advisor Conference, the only annual technology conference for independent advisors, as well as the Technology Tools for Today (T3) Enterprise Conference. He also hosts other technology summits in partnership with thought leaders in the financial services industry (e.g., Brian Hamburger of MarketCounsel) and his own by-invitation-only fintech summit every summer. In 2020, Bruckenstein will produce for the first time a new one-day intensive called T3 Cyber University. Bruckenstein is an internationally acclaimed expert on applied technology as it relates to the financial service industry. He is the co-author of three books: Virtual Office Tools for a High Margin Practice, Tools and Techniques of Practice Management, and Technology Tools for Today’s High Margin Practice. Bruckenstein’s monthly technology columns appeared in Financial Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine for many years. In addition, he works in tandem with industry influential Bob Veres, publisher of Inside Information, to produce an annual technology survey for the financial planning community. Bruckenstein accepted the fifth annual Leadership Award bestowed by Bob Veres' Insider's Forum, a conference that brings together the leading figures of the financial planning profession during a main stage presentation at the Insider's Forum held September 6-8, 2017 in Nashville, TN. Bruckenstein has for more than twenty years advised financial service firms of all sizes on improving their technologies, processes and workflows. For more information about Joel Bruckenstein and the services his firm offers, please visit

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