Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)

Some of our professionals are certified for financial planning services in the United States by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP Board”). The CFP® certification is voluntary. No federal or state law or regulation requires financial planners to hold the CFP® certification. You may find more information about the CFP® certification at www.cfp.net. CFP® professionals have met CFP Board’s high standards for education, examination, experience, and ethics.

To become a CFP® professional, an individual must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Education – Earn a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university and complete CFP Board-approved coursework at a college or university through a CFP Board Registered Program. The coursework covers the financial planning subject areas CFP Board has determined are necessary for the competent and professional delivery of financial planning services, as well as a comprehensive financial plan development capstone course. A candidate may satisfy some of the coursework requirement through other qualifying credentials.
  • Examination – Pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Examination. The examination is designed to assess an individual’s ability to integrate and apply a broad base of financial planning knowledge in the context of real-life financial planning situations.
  • Experience – Complete 6,000 hours of professional experience related to the personal financial planning process, or 4,000 hours of apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements.
  • Ethics – Satisfy the Fitness Standards for Candidates for CFP® Certification and Former CFP® Professionals Seeking Reinstatement and agree to be bound by CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (“Code and Standards”), which sets forth the ethical and practice standards for CFP® professionals.

Individuals who become certified must complete the following ongoing education and ethics requirements to remain certified and maintain the right
to continue to use the CFP Board Certification Marks:

  • Ethics – Commit to complying with CFP Board’s Code and Standards. This includes a commitment to CFP Board, as part of the certification, to act as a fiduciary, and therefore, act in the best interests of the client, at all times when providing financial advice and financial planning. CFP Board may sanction a CFP® professional who does not abide by this commitment, but CFP Board does not guarantee a CFP® professional's services. A client who seeks a similar commitment should obtain a written engagement that includes a fiduciary obligation to the client.
  • Continuing Education – Complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain competence, demonstrate specified levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and keep up with developments in financial planning. Two of the hours must address the Code and Standards.

Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®)

The Chartered Financial Analyst is a globally respected, graduate-level investment credential established in 1962 and awarded by the CFA® Institute — the largest global association of investment professionals. There are currently more than 138,000 CFA® charter holders working in 134 countries. To earn the CFA charter, candidates must: 1) pass three sequential, six-hour examinations; 2) have at least four years of qualified professional investment experience; 3) join CFA® Institute as members; and 4) commit to abide by and annually reaffirm, their adherence to the CFA® Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

High Ethical Standards

The CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, enforced through an active professional conduct program, require CFA
charter-holders to:

  • Place their clients’ interests ahead of their own;
  • Maintain independence and objectivity;
  • Act with integrity;
  • Maintain and improve their professional competence;
  • Disclose conflicts of interest and legal matters.

Global Recognition

Passing the three CFA exams is a difficult feat that requires extensive study (successful candidates report spending an average of 300 hours of study per level). Earning the CFA charter demonstrates mastery of the advanced skills needed for investment analysis and decision-making in today’s quickly evolving global financial industry. As a result, employers and clients increasingly seek CFA charter holders—often making the charter a prerequisite for employment.

Additionally, regulatory bodies in over 30 countries and territories recognize the CFA charter as a proxy for meeting specific licensing requirements, and more than 125 colleges and universities around the world have incorporated most of the CFA® Program curriculum into their finance courses.

Comprehensive and Current Knowledge

The CFA® Program curriculum provides a comprehensive framework of knowledge for investment decision-making and is firmly grounded in the knowledge and skills used daily in the investment profession. The three levels of the CFA® Program test proficiency with a wide range of fundamental and advanced investment topics, including ethical and professional standards, fixed income and equity analysis, alternative and derivative investments, economics, financial reporting standards, portfolio management, and wealth planning

The CFA® Program curriculum is updated annually by experts worldwide to ensure that candidates learn the most relevant and practical new tools, ideas, and investment and wealth management skills to reflect the dynamic and complex nature of the profession.

To learn more about the CFA® charter, visit www.cfainstitute.org.

Chartered Retirement Plan SpecialistSM – CRPS®

The chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS) certification is a prestigious credential awarded by the College for Financial Planning to individuals who demonstrate expertise in creating, implementing, and maintaining retirement plans for businesses. The CRPS designation is tailored specifically for professionals that advise businesses on implementing retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and 403(b) plans.

It requires candidates to follow a comprehensive study program that culminates in a rigorous exam testing their knowledge of topics related to retirement plans — from their establishment and operation to fiduciary responsibilities.

Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ (FPQP™)

The foundation of financial planning is developing strong relationships with new and current clients, so you can help them achieve their financial goals. The FPQP™ designation is for those who have no financial planning experience and want to start building that foundation. The program covers the main facets in personal financial planning with a focus on practical application, such as estate, tax, retirement, insurance, and investments. Holding the FPQP™ designation demonstrates to clients that you can gather, review, and analyze their financial information and offer
a comprehensive picture of their financial well-being.