Carson Wealth to Require CFP® or Equivalent Certification for Partner Advisors

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new regulation to govern investment advice in retirement accounts that is intended to replace the fiduciary rule imposed in 2016, but vacated by a federal appeals court in 2018.The announcement came one day before the Security and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Regulation Best Interest (RBI) mandate that went into effect on June 30, 2020.

The stated intent behind both regulations is to commit financial planners to the role as a fiduciary, meaning advisors must act in the best interest of clients at all times when providing financial advice, which has long been a core value of Carson Group, since its founding in 1983. Doubling down on this commitment, Carson Group announced today that financial advisors working at wholly-owned Carson Wealth offices across the country will now be required to hold or maintain a CFP® certification or an equivalent professional credential within five years of joining the firm.

"At Carson, we believe in the importance of acting in the best interest of the clients that we serve," said Jamie Hopkins, Managing Director, Carson Coaching and Director of Retirement Research, Carson Group. "Our advisors are held to a fiduciary standard, but we believe that financial advisors need to go even further. It doesn't end at putting a client's interests first, there should be a legal standard. We also owe it to our clients to uphold an ethics standard and we owe it to ourselves and the profession to continue to further our own education."

"We commend the Carson Group for its commitment to serving in the best interest of their clients through CFP® professionals," said Kevin R. Keller, CAE, CEO of CFP Board. "CFP® certification raises the bar for the profession and benefits consumers who make important financial decisions with the assistance of a financial planner."

While the DOL and SEC continue their debate about the importance of acting as a fiduciary, research has shown individuals found it more important that advisors make recommendations in their "best interest."

Carson Coaching research, published in the Journal of Financial Planning, unveiled that roughly 98 percent of investors said it was important that their advisor provide recommendations in their best interest while 86 percent said it was important that their advisor act as a fiduciary. This indicates what other studies have shown—most consumers don't understand what it means to be a fiduciary but do understand "best interest." Advisors should demonstrate value and explain fiduciary standard with common vernacular, perhaps focusing on the "best interest" language. It's important to note that more literate and wealthier respondents were more likely to seek out a fiduciary advisor than those with lower literacy levels or wealth. Those with more wealth often need more planning and broader services, which would be a natural fit for a fiduciary advisor. It's also possible that some people don't value the cost associated with a fiduciary and are willing to take a cheaper, less robust option.

About Carson
Carson Group serves financial advisors and investors through its businesses including Carson Wealth, Carson Coaching, and Carson Partners. The family of companies offers coaching and partnership services to advisor firms – and straightforward financial advice to the investing public. All three organizations are headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, and share a common mission to be the most trusted for financial advice. For more information, visit

Investment advisory services offered through CWM, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Carson Partners, a division of CWM, LLC, is a nationwide partnership of advisors. Carson Partners, a division of CWM, LLC, is a nationwide partnership of advisors. Carson Coaching and CWM, LLC are separate but affiliated companies and wholly owned subsidiaries of Carson Group Holdings, LLC. Carson Coaching does not provide advisory services.

This article originally appeared on Norfolk Daily News.


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