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NAPFA ups bar for registered financial advisers

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) -- The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors said Tuesday that applicants seeking to become registered financial advisers with the professional association will need to be certified financial planners, starting Jan. 1.

NAPFA's board decided on the policy change after recognizing the need for a single professional designation for financial planners.

The certified financial planner designation best represents the standards of the profession, the NAPFA said. It should help reduce confusion among consumers who often can't sort out the different professional designations that financial advisers may have earned.

"NAPFA's decision to support the broader recognition of a single, defining designation for the financial planning community just makes sense," said Lauren Locker, NAPFA's chair. "Less confusion means more consumer confidence, and the (certified financial planner) designation hits the mark as a strong, baseline standard."

The association's board made its decision after a two-week open-comment period where current members and affiliates were asked for input. The responses were overwhelmingly in favor of supporting the certified financial planner designation, the NAPFA said.