Most people think that wealth managers, brokers, or financial planners are “certified” but this isn’t true. Anyone can call himself or herself a “financial planner.” There is a higher level of expertise, ethical conduct, and ongoing education required and expected of individuals with additional certifications. Letters after your name can mean extensive work, or not. Our team has secured training and is committed to ongoing education in the areas which serve our clients best.
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. You can feel more confident that the person you choose to help you plan for your future is competent and ethical. The CFP® certification can help to provide that sense of security by allowing only those who meet the following requirements the right to use the CFP® certification marks.
CFP® professionals must develop their theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board. Other options for satisfying the education component include submitting a transcript review or previous financial planning-related coursework to CFP Board for review and credit, or showing the attainment of certain professional designations or academic degrees.
CFP® practitioners must pass a comprehensive two-day, six-hour CFP® Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. Based on regular research of what planners do, the exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.
CFP® professionals must have three years’ minimum experience in the financial planning process prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification marks. As a result, CFP® practitioners possess financial counseling skills in addition to financial planning knowledge.
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, which 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.
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.
The CExP designation has set the industry standard in distinguishing professionals who have attained advanced expertise in Exit Planning through study, testing, and ongoing education. This designation through Business Enterprise Institute gives financial advisors, estate attorneys, and tax professionals the ability to provide capable and professionally executed Exit Planning Services for their clientele. Training is garnered in maximizing business value and advanced personal wealth strategy.
Once certified, CExP practitioners are required a minimum of 15 hours of continuing education each year in the latest trends is communicated across the financial, legal, and tax arenas related to the needs of business owners and their families. The focus for ongoing course-work is around building, harvesting, and preserving family wealth for generations to come as well as integrating best-in-class business practices into daily operations.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.