What does the CFP® Mark Mean?
Anyone can call himself or herself a “financial planner,” but only those who have fulfilled the certification and re-licensing requirements of the CFP® Board can use its certification mark. The CFP® mark identifies persons who are dedicated to a high level of professionalism.
Why are CFP® Board certification requirement important?
The CFP® Board’s certification process assures the public that individuals authorized to use its mark have met education, examination and experience requirements to provide comprehensive financial planning advice and are committed to high standards of ethical conduct. The mark also signals that the person has voluntarily submitted to the regulatory authority of the CFP® Board.
What are the CFP® Board certification requirements?
Education. As a basic requirement, a candidate for certification must have a bachelor’s degree and three years of financial planning-related experience, in addition to completing courses of study at a college or university that offers a financial planning curriculum, including those registered with the CFP® Board.
Examination. Candidates must pass a rigorous two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination administered by the CFP®Board that covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.
Experience. A candidate for certification must prove that he or she has work experience in a financial planning-related position before being licensed to use the CFP® certification mark.
Ethics. Candidates must disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their professional or business conduct.The CFP® Board reviews all such disclosures and investigates the backgrounds of candidates whose disclosure statements indicate areas of concern.
Candidates for certification also must agree to adhere to the CFP® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. In addition, candidates must declare they understand and agree that they CFP® Board has the absolute and unrestricted authority to revoke the right to use the CFP® mark if it finds that a certificant has failed to comply with this Code.
Are there any ongoing requirements?
Once certified, CFP® certificants must fulfill a biennial continuing education requirement to stay up-to-date on planning strategies and financial trends affecting their clients. In addition, the CFP® Board monitors compliance with its Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility by investigating consumer complaints and licensees’ periodic disclosures of investigations or legal proceedings, and through its continual review of reports from other regulatory bodies and the press.
How do I know if a financial advisor is a CFP® certificant?
Look for the distinctive CFP® certification mark. Only those currently certified by the CFP® Board are authorized to use this mark. Ask to see the planner’s current CFP® Board certificate or call the CFP® Board toll-free, at 888.CFP.MARK to confirm whether the planner is a current CFP® certificant.
What else should I look for when selecting a financial planning practitioner?
Ask for recommendations. Advisors you trust, business associates and friends may be able to recommend CFP® certificants they know. To obtain a list of CFP® certificants contact the following membership organizations: The Institute of Certified Financial Planners at 800.282.7526, and The International Association for Financial Planning at 800.930.4511.
Interview several practitioners. Ask them to describe their backgrounds and specialty areas. Request references from current clients. In addition, ask if the advisor has a current registration or disclosure statement available that may contain detailed information regarding compensation, conflicts of interest, Business affiliations and person qualifications.
Make sure you understand the practitioner’s services and method of compensation. Request a written advisory contract or engagement letter to document the nature and scope of services the planner will provide. In addition, the advisor should clearly explain how he or she expects to be compensated. Generally, compensation takes on of three forms:
Fees. A fee is set based on an hourly rate, flat rate per plan, or perhaps on the value of your assets and/or income.
Fees and commissions. Fees are charged depending on the amount of work to be done or as described above. If you choose to implement the planning recommendations through the individual, he or she also may receive commissions from products purchased or sol. (Some advisors may offset some portion of their fees if commissions are received in implementing the plan.)
Commission. No fee is charged for the planning process but the advisor is compensated from products purchased when the plan is implemented. It is important to note that the implementation of a financial plan my not require the purchase of financial products or investments. The plan may simply recommend the use of appropriate financial procedures and strategies to accomplish your objectives.
Evaluate your rapport. Several financial planning practitioners may be equally competent. Select the one with whom you feel most comfortable.
What can I expect from the financial planning process?
Personal financial planning denotes the process of determining how individuals may meet their life goals through proper management of their financial resources. This broad-based approach to financial advice distinguishes financial planning practitioners from other professional advisors who typically focus on only one area of a person’s financial life.
How can I learn more?
The CFP® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility sets forth the standards of conduct you can expect from aCFP® certificant. If you would like a copy of this document, write the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Board of Standards at 1700 Broadway, Suite 2100, Denver, Colorado 80290, or call 888.CFP.MARK.
About the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Board of Standards
The CFP® Board is an independent professional regulatory organization. Established in 1985 as a non-profit corporation, the CFP® Board exists to benefit and protect the public by establishing, maintaining and enforcing education, examination, experience and ethics requirements for CFP® certificant.
CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and are certification marks owned by CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Board of Standards Inc. and are awarded to individuals who successfully complete CFP® Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Financial planning offered through Robertson Advisory Inc., a registered investment advisor and separate entity.
Information relating to securities is intended for use by individuals residing in CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, IN, MD, NC, NY, OH, TX and VA only and investment advisory services may be offered through this web site to residents of Florida only. This is not an offer to sell securities, which may be done only after proper delivery of a prospectus and client suitability is reviewed and determined.