In this day and age, professionals are laden with the alphabet after their names. My industry is no exception. When I started my career with my previous firm, we immediately acquired the AAMS (Accredited Asset Managment Specialist) Designation. While serving in Iraq, in my downtime I studied for the CRPC (CharteredRetirement Planning Consultant). These are just two of several designations that I could attain if I had the time and patience to study for them. But despite the two I had, and several I could get: the coveted marks I knew I had to have was the mark of the CFP®.
What Makes a CFP® Different?
From my perspective, the CFP® was the mark of a serious financial planner. With countless financial consultants at other investment firms, inusrance agents offering investments and banks now having in house brokerages, I knew I needed to differentiate myself. Many people I know are not familiar with the CFP® mark, so I wanted to share what I had to go through to get it.
Financial professionals who have earned the right to use the CFP® mark have met the following requirements:
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Education: There are three ways to meet the CFP® certification education requirement:
- Completing an education program at a college or university whose curriculum is registered with the CFP Board; or
- Submitting a transcript of previous financial planning-related course work to the CFP Board for review and credit; or
Showing the attainment of certain professional designations or academic degrees.
- Examination: Individuals must pass a rigorous two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination administered by the CFP Board that covers the financial planning process and includes such topics as tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.
Experience: Candidates for CFP® certification must prove they have experience in the financial planning process before being authorized to use the CFP marks.
Ethics: As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. CFP® Board also performs a background check during this process, and each individual must disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their professional or business conduct. Candidates must also adhere to the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards.