Per an email from NAPFA Nation Chair Diahann W. Lassus addressing the New York Times article by Ron Lieber from June 5th entitled Finding Financial Advice in an Age of Bad Behavior:
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June 10, 2009

Letter to the Editor

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is pleased that Times “Your Money” columnist Ron Lieber stated in his June 5 article that “I still believe that a Napfa planner should be among the first people you see when shopping for financial assistance.” We are grateful for the conclusion of his article that NAPFA “still has the best collection of financial advisers anywhere.”

Ron Lieber’s statements are high praise for our organization and its 2,125 members nationwide. Frankly, they are high praise for any financial services organization these days, given the numerous scandals that have emerged in the wake of the recession.

We understand Mr. Lieber’s concerns. NAPFA’s leadership and its members are disturbed by the charges that have been filed by regulators against three former members of the organization for alleged actions that have harmed their clients.

Mr. Lieber challenges NAPFA, which has set high standards for the industry, to do better.  We are confident that we are up to the task.

Since our founding in 1983, NAPFA has insisted upon the highest standards of education, training, and ethical conduct by financial advisors who become members. We stand as one of the few indicators of high competency and trustworthiness in an industry in which anyone can call himself or herself a “financial advisor.”

But that doesn’t mean that NAPFA is perfect, nor that we are satisfied with the status quo. On a national level, we co-founded the Financial Planning Coalition, which has proposed a universal adoption of a tough fiduciary standard for financial advisors. On the association level, we already had enacted one of Mr. Lieber’s suggestions: raising membership standards. Effective on Jan. 1, 2010, all new NAPFA members will be required to have a CFP® certification.

In conclusion, NAPFA is working hard to live up to the high ideals and principles we have set for ourselves and our industry. We look forward to meeting new challenges in an increasingly complex economy and financial environment.

Sincerely,

Diahann W. Lassus, CFP®, CPA/PFS
Chair