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Also: nothing prevents anyone from providing any financial advice they like. The prohibited activity (for securities law) is *charging people for advice* in respect of "any act in furtherance of a [securities] trade."
Exactly - do some research on "financial coaching". This might be more in line with what you are looking for.
 

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Just to be clear, licensing protects agents/registered reps as well as consumers. I'd argue that the protection for the agents/reps (the "economic moat" function of a license) is generally viewed as more important than protection for consumers.

Also: nothing prevents anyone from providing any financial advice they like. The prohibited activity (for securities law) is *charging people for advice* in respect of "any act in furtherance of a [securities] trade."
Somehow I don't feel protected :). Seriously, I wouldn't have perceived as licensing as protection for the advisor. But I've got a different background and process than many others.

Don't even get me started with the educational aspect of licensing. Later this year I'm due to create a course for new life insurance brokers and I'm going to be covering rudimentary stuff like PV calcs and reading contracts/applications. I can't believe they don't cover this stuff or require it as part of being licensed. How is it possible to get licensed as a life insurance agent and never have to prove competency in the actual contract you're selling? Particularly when that's all that we really are selling is the contract.
 

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Also: I am on one of the committees that creates the CFP exams. Those exams are tough but fair.
I've looked at the CFP exams. They're great, people should take those exams . If I was going to take further exams, they would be first or second on my list (I would personaly be tempted to restart taking actuarial exams, but that's not for most people).
 
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