Is financial planning regulated?
Yes. All financial planners whose service models include advice pertaining to investment management and securities are specifically regulated under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. This is explicitly spelled out in Securities Exchange Commission issued Interpretive Release IA-1092 The Applicability of the Advisers Act to Financial Planners.
In terms of specific regulatory oversight, ALL financial planners who are governed by the Advisers Act are required to registered with the SEC and to provide consumers with a copy of a plain English disclosure brochure (SEC Forms ADV 2A and 2B) that includes the planners service model, compensation structure, education and professional experience, potential conflicts, and regulatory and/or criminal disclosure histories. These documents are to be provided to prospective clients at or before engaging the planner’s services with updated versions provided at least annually. Consumers may also review the financial planner’s professional and regulatory disclosure history by visiting the SEC Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (SEC IAPD) website at https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/
Ongoing oversight and enforcement of financial planners whose business models do not involve direct portfolio management are provided at the state level by the offices of each state’s Securities Commissioner.