CFP® professionals must develop their theoretical and practical knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board, and pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam, which covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance. They must also complete several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification trademarks. CFP® professionals are held to the highest of standards, as outlined in CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct. They are obliged to uphold the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence as outlined in CFP Board’s Code of Ethics. The Rules of Conduct require CFP® professionals to put your interests ahead of their own at all times and to provide their financial planning services as a “fiduciary” – acting in the best interest of their financial planning clients.
CIMA® professionals integrate a complex body of investment knowledge, ethically contributing to prudent investment decisions by providing objective advice and guidance to individual investors and institutional investors. The CIMA certification program is the only credential designed specifically for financial professionals who want to attain a level of competency as an advanced investment consultant. The CIMA certification program covers five core topic areas and requires that candidates meet all eligibility requirements, including experience, education, examination, and ethics.
The CFA® Program is a globally recognized, graduate level curriculum that provides a strong foundation of real-world investment analysis and portfolio management skills along with the practical knowledge you need in today’s investment industry. It also emphasizes the highest ethical and professional standards. Completing the CFA Program confirms a mastery of the rigorous CFA curriculum, signifies passing all three exam levels. To earn the CFA charter you must have four years of qualifying investment work experience, become a member of CFA Institute, pledge to adhere to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, apply for membership to a local CFA member society, and complete the CFA Program.
The C(k)P® designation represents the pinnacle of achievement for the professional Retirement Plan Advisor, recognizing a combination of substantial practical retirement plan management experience and the completion of a comprehensive and highly specialized educational program. To earn the right to use the C(k)P® designation requires more than just academic aptitude. A financial professional must demonstrate real world application of the core competencies taught in the classroom.
Individuals who hold the CRPC® designation have completed a course of study encompassing pre-and post-retirement needs, asset management, estate planning and the entire retirement planning process using models and techniques from real client situations. 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.
The Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA) credential – developed by some of the nation’s leading advisors and retirement plan experts – demonstrates your knowledge, expertise and commitment to working with retirement plans. Plan advisors who earn their CPFA demonstrate the expertise required to act as a plan fiduciary or help plan fiduciaries manage their roles and responsibilities.