Whether acquiring a Certified Financial Planner™ professional certification or other specialization, Matt is admittedly an all-or-nothing kind of guy. When it comes to his aptitude for understanding complex financial topics, he has the gift of communicating this knowledge in a way that applies to your unique life and financial plan.
Most people think that all financial planners are “certified,” but this isn’t true. Anyone can call himself or herself a “financial planner.” Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of CFP Board can display the CFP® certification marks.
Individuals certified by CFP Board have taken the extra step to demonstrate their professionalism by voluntarily submitting to the rigorous CFP® certification process that includes demanding education, examination, experience and ethical requirements. These standards are called “the four E’s,” and they are four important reasons why the financial planning practitioner you select should display the CFP® certification marks.
When selecting a financial planner, you need to feel confident that the person you choose to help you plan for your future is competent and ethical. The CFP® certification provides that sense of security by allowing only those who meet the following requirements the right to use the CFP® certification marks. Through the Code of Ethics, CFP® practitioners agree to act fairly and diligently when providing you with financial planning advice and services, putting your interests first. The Code of Ethics states that CFP® practitioners are to act with integrity, offering you professional services that are objective and based on your needs. They are required to provide you with information about their sources of compensation and conflicts of interest in writing.
Once certified, CFP® practitioners are required to maintain technical competence and fulfill ethical obligations. Every two years, they must complete a minimum 30 hours of continuing education to stay current with developments in the financial planning profession and better serve clients. Two of these hours are spent studying or discussing CFP Board’s Code of Ethics or Practice Standards. In addition to the biennial continuing education requirement, all CFP® practitioners voluntarily disclose any public, civil, criminal or disciplinary actions that may have been taken against them during the previous two years as part of the renewal process.
CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and are certification marks owned by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board), which can help you identify financial planners who are committed to competent and ethical behavior when providing financial planning.
CIMA® professionals provide objective investment advice and guidance to both individuals and institutions. CIMA® professionals apply state-of-the-art investment theory and integrate a complex body of investment knowledge systematically and ethically to assist clients in making prudent investment decisions.
The CIMA® certification identifies individuals who have met extensive experience and ethical requirements and successfully completed advanced investment management consulting coursework provided through The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Additionally, those who earn the certification must agree to meet ongoing continuing education requirements, and adhere to IMCA’s Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards of Practice.
Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA®) is the owner of the certification marks “CIMA®,” and “Certified Investment Management Analyst®.” Use of CIMA® or Certified Investment Management Analyst® signifies that the user has successfully completed IMCA's initial and ongoing credentialing requirements for investment management consultants.
A Chartered Financial Consultant® has completed the most extensive educational program required for any financial services credential. Each ChFC® has taken nine or more college-level courses on all aspects of financial planning from The American College, a nonprofit educator with the highest level of academic accreditation.
The average study time for the program is over 400 hours, and advisors frequently spend years earning this coveted distinction. Each ChFC® must also complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education every two years, adhere to strict ethical standards, and meet extensive experience requirements to ensure that you get the professional financial advice you need.
A Chartered Life Underwriter® specializes in life insurance and estate planning. Known as the oldest designation, the CLU® is widely considered to be the most respected insurance designation in the industry. This designation was created in 1927 by the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The CLU® has traditionally been pursued by agents who wish to specialize in life insurance for business or estate-planning purposes.
The current course curriculum for the CLU® includes five required courses plus three elective courses. The required courses include the following:
The Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor℠ or CMFC® designation is the nation’s only industry-recognized mutual fund designation. It provides recipients with a thorough knowledge of mutual funds and their various uses as investment vehicles.
The College for Financial Planning collaborated with the Investment Company Institute (ICI) – the primary trade organization for the mutual fund industry – to create the program in 1996.
Individuals who hold the AAMS® designation have completed a course of study encompassing investments, insurance, tax, retirement, and estate planning issues. Additionally, individuals must pass an end-of-course examination that tests their ability to synthesize complex concepts and apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations.
All designees have agreed to adhere to Standards of Professional Conduct and are subject to a disciplinary process. Designees renew their designation every two years by completing 16 hours of continuing education, reaffirming adherence to the Standards of Professional Conduct and complying with self-disclosure requirements.
A Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor has in-depth knowledge of the needs individuals face both before and after retirement, and engages in retirement planning for a variety of important issues, such as sources of retirement income, employer-sponsored retirement plans, tax planning, retirement cash flow, asset management, estate planning and more.
The study program to become a CRPS® covers types and characteristics of retirement plans, including IRAs, small business retirement plans, defined contribution plans, 401(k) plans and nonprofit and government plans. It also covers plan distributions, plan design and implementation, plan establishment and operation, and fiduciary issues.