A team of 35 fiduciary advocates and professionals has established a public benefit corporation with plans to partner with universities in offering an executive education certificate in fiduciary leadership, stewardship and governance.
The Center for Board Certified Fiduciaries, which launched Tuesday, also plans to develop the curriculum for the first master's and doctorate programs with a concentration in fiduciary responsibility. The CBCF has been in negotiations with several universities and expects to announce its first formal agreement in the coming weeks, said Don Trone, the group's CEO, in an interview.
The group will certify professionals in a specific fiduciary field or specialization and will develop protocols associated with the outsourcing of fiduciary responsibility to third parties.
"We intend to really elevate the entire profession, elevate those who are both lay fiduciaries and professional fiduciaries," said Keith Loveland, the CBCF's general counsel, in an interview. "We see as our mission to assist people who are on investment committees, who are on endowment and foundation boards of directors, who work inside of defined benefit and defined contribution plans, and others out there attempting to serve Americans."
In light of new regulations, services and liabilities, the CBCF said it will provide the critical infrastructure to conduct and publish research and thought leadership on fiduciary standards and associated best practices. "Thought leadership in the fiduciary space has not been developing or evolving," Mr. Trone said.
No university in the country offers graduate level coursework or a master's with a concentration in fiduciary responsibility, and the CBCF wanted to change that, Mr. Trone added.
"I could get a master's or a Ph.D. on moths and basket weaving and all types of stuff, but for one of the subjects that has more impact on the fiscal health of our country than probably anything else there's no advanced or formal academic and scientific rigor associated with fiduciary responsibility," Mr. Trone said.
As part of the coursework, attendees will receive training on the neurological markers of an exemplary leader or fiduciary.
Mr. Loveland said the coursework will not be "compliance check-the-box thinking." Those who receive the training will have lifelong skills and abilities "to provide leadership, stewardship and governance in whatever endeavor they're engaged," he added.