ISO 22222, the Standard on Personal Financial Planning, has been approved as an international standard. All ISO members (standardization institutes in approximately 150 countries around the world) can now adopt ISO 22222 as a national standard.According to Stuart Kessler, chairman of the International Standards Organization's blue-ribbon committee on personal financial planning, "ISO 22222 is by nature not legally binding, but a document of 'good practice' that can be applied voluntarily, unless there is a reference to it in legislation or it is part of a contract, in which case it might become binding."

ISO 22222 specifies the ethical behaviors, competences and experience required of a professional personal financial planner. It describes and addresses the various methods of conformity assessment and specifies requirements that would apply to each.

Kessler noted that the final draft of the standard was approved by a majority vote, with one dissent and three abstentions. "The one disapproval does not hinder the approval of ISO 22222 as an international standard," he said. "We received signals from the dissenting country that they will introduce the standard, but at the same time, will concentrate their efforts to inform the consumers of the meaning of first- and third-party conformity assessment - that is, that they believe there should be no self-designation. This is certainly their right, and also for other countries."

Kessler also pointed out that as soon as a country (any ISO member) has adopted ISO 22222 as a national standard, it will be translated in most cases into the relevant national language and will be made available to the public by the publishers of the standardization institutes.

"Depending on how quickly this process takes place, it can be expected that the standard will be available in early Spring 2006," he said.

Kessler added that the committee would meet again in June to evaluate the first experiences with the introduction of the standard in different countries. "If proposals for ongoing work should be submitted, for example, by consumer organizations, the committee will deal with them," Kessler said. "Beyond this, the committee is responsible to react if the market signals the necessity of a revision of the standard."

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