The battle among financial planners over the use of "fee only" will reach a showdown this month in San Diego.

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, which sought a trademark for the term "fee only" in January, will announce at its annual meeting how it plans to enforce use of the wording.

Napfa, with 600 members, argues that the term is misused by planners who offer both fee-only and commission-based services-a practice that confuses the public.

But Napfa's effort to trademark the term infuriated two trade groups with a total membership of about 27,000-the Institute of Certified Financial Planners, which awards the Certified Financial Planner designation; and the International Association of Financial Planners.

They argue that the smaller group is trying to co-opt a term widely used by a far greater number of planners and that enforcement of the term's use will be costly.

Representatives from all three groups will meet during the annual meeting, scheduled for May 13-15. Napfa will offer details May 15 on how it expects to guard its rights to "fee only."

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