March 2000


In January, the AICPA announced an alliance through which Fidelity will be the sole provider of clearing and custody services for the AICPA's Center for Investment Advisory Services. The AICPA says the alliance is a key component of a comprehensive program to help AICPA members expand their planning practices by becoming registered investment advisors.

As a result of the agreement with Fidelity's Institutional Brokerage Group (IBG), AICPA members will have access to the resources necessary to establish and grow an investment advisory practice without having to enter into individual affiliations with a broker-dealer. With IBG providing custody and clearing services, CPAs will be able to retain the independence and objectivity that their clients expect.

"Investment advising moves the CPA to a higher service platform in the context of financial planning," said Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO. "After reviewing proposals from a number of custody and clearing providers, we decided to associate with IBG. It was clear to us they had the resources, experience, tools, and dedicated support to help our members enter this exciting field."

"The Center for Investment Advisory Services is a member-driven initiative designed to help CPAs compete in an evolving marketplace," Melancon added. "Through the center, the AICPA continues to promote CPAs, particularly personal financial specialists, as trusted financial advisors. The center's resources prepare CPAs to maintain high standards as they take on the role of investment advisor, and the center provides continuing support to CPAs in that role."

The AICPA's Center for Investment Advisory Services is designed to give members and their firms the tools, training, resources, and relationships they need in order to provide investment advisory services to their clients. The center integrates the AICPA's internal resources with strategic relationships that the AICPA has developed with external organizations and vendors, including Morningstar and Ibbotson. *

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