Certified Financial Planners will soon have fiduciary duties toward their clients, after the adoption today of new ethical standards. The new standards, which go into effect next July, reportedly also include a requirement that the CFPs disclose their method and sources of compensation. And they restrict the use of the term "fee-only" to situations where the only source of compensation comes from client fees.
My take: If your financial adviser has fiduciary duties toward you, that's better than the alternative. But by itself, the abstract legal duty doesn't always mean that you are really getting advice untainted by conflicts of interest. If you must hire an adviser, look closely at the compensation structure. As I've written in a previous column (subscription required), a fee-only adviser who charges by the hour is a reasonable choice, but avoid anyone who pushes active trading.