Alliance of Comprehensive Planners History | 20+ Years of Fee-only Financial Planning

What this means for our clients:

Our Tax Focus:
ACP members are fiduciary planners who provide a distinct alternative in the financial planning marketplace. By assuring their clients’ financial plans are comprehensive, they consider not only interest-earning, real estate and equity investments, but also the tax consequences that can impact or be impacted by investment and financial strategies, or tax law changes. ACP member advisors optimize the use of assets for tax efficiency, growth and security to ensure their clients’ goals are achieved. Given this focus, ACP member advisors maintain their CFP® or CPA/PFS certification and/or licenses.

Our Retainer Model:
ACP members are fee-only advisors that use the retainer model for determining their compensation with their clients. This commitment reflects the fiduciary relationship, essential to establishing trust and minimizing real and perceived conflicts of interest between a client’s assets and an advisor’s guidance. Fees are based on income, marketable assets, and complexity of the client’s personal and financial situation, providing clarity and transparency to clients, and compensation that is commensurate with their value to ACP member advisors. This open-retainer approach accommodates regular ongoing reviews of key financial areas, with access, or an open-door, to the advisor when needed.

What this means for our members:

Our Community:
Established in 1995 (originally, as ACA, or the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors), ACP is a 501(c) (6) not-for-profit community of financial planners working toward individual and common goals. Training and professional development are ACP hallmarks. It is the right and responsibility of members to share knowledge and expertise. This results in a dynamic forum for open exchange of ideas and an incubator of cutting-edge comprehensive planning concepts, methodologies and tools.

The ACP Success Program is required and comprises formal training over and above educational requirements for financial planning licensing and related certifications. The Success Program grounds members in the philosophy, strategies and tools of the ACP System™, and helps members identify and overcome the hurdles of establishing a self-sustaining and profitable practice. Importantly, the ACP education program is maintained by its membership, assuring it remains up-to-date and responsive to the real world in which financial practices must operate.

What this means for financial planning industry organizations:

ACP is not in competition with other financial planning focused organizations. The majority of ACP members also maintain association with allied groups including NAPFA and FPA. What makes ACP different is the training and the community. What attracts members to ACP is a community of advisors that share the common philosophies of:

  • A tax-focused approach to the comprehensive financial planning process. Recognizing taxes is the common thread that ties all components of a financial plan together, advisors can add tremendous value to the client by making taxes a core hub of the planning process.
  • Use of a retainer model for clients’ service model. Like AUM model of fee-only planning, a retainer model is a value based fee structure, but further reduces conflict of interest between advisor and client and provides for a more stable stream of practice income.

ACP has been training and assisting advisors build successful firms for over 20 years based on these core principles. When advisors come to the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners, they have over 150 plus 'partners' at their disposal to turn to when they have tax, insurance, retirement or any other practice management questions.



In 1995, Bert Whitehead presented his now famous white paper "Marketing Fee-Only to Middle America" to the participants of National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) conference. After describing his practice model, he received numerous requests from financial advisors who wanted to know how to replicate his more personal fee-only approach to financial planning. As a result, Bert formed Cambridge Advisors, LLC. Wanting to assure the organization's longevity, maintain the collaborative efforts of its members, and continue the evolution of the ACA System™, Bert spearheaded the formation of the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors (ACA), a 501(c) (6) not-for-profit corporation.

Now called the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners, hundreds of advisors have been trained in the ACP System™. Some joined just for that training, but many more have chosen to build a thriving supportive community that respects the individuality of each practice. This unique blend of commonality and diversity has created an environment where innovative solutions to client issues and practice management challenges are nurtured and realized.