Financial Solutions

Financial Solutions

Financial Solutions

Financial Solutions

Jan 08, 2018

What Your Advisor’s CFP Certification Means

Not only do CFP® professionals meet rigorous education and experience requirements, but they are also held to the highest ethical and professional standards.

Working with a CFP® professional or Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner is an important first step toward reaching your financial goals. Not only do these professionals meet rigorous education and experience requirements, but they are also held to the highest ethical and professional standards.

Education
CFP® professionals must become proficient in nearly 100 integrated financial planning topics, including:

  • Investment planning
  • Tax planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Estate planning
  • Risk management
  • Insurance planning
  • Financial management

In addition to completing a comprehensive financial planning curriculum (or equivalent academic coursework), CFP® professionals are required to complete continuing education coursework, including a CFP Board-approved code of ethics course.

Examination
Candidates for the CFP® certification must pass a comprehensive 6-hour certification exam that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. Based on regular research of what planners do, the exam covers:

  • Establishing and defining the Client-Planner relationship
  • Gathering information necessary to fulfil the engagement
  • Analyzing and evaluating the client’s current financial status
  • Developing and communicating recommendations
  • Implementing and monitoring recommendations
  • Practicing within professional and regulatory standards

Experience
CFP® professionals must have a minimum of three years’ experience in the personal financial planning process prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification marks. This ensures that CFP® practitioners possess financial counseling skills, in addition to financial planning knowledge.

Ethics
As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of conduct, known as CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients, and employers. The 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.

What to Expect With a CFP® Professional
It is important to understand how CFP® professionals deliver their services as well as how they are compensated, since planners are compensated in different ways. Practitioners are typically paid through commissions, fees, or a combination of both. While all CFP® practitioners are trained to provide you with comprehensive financial planning services, some may specialize in one or more areas, or work only with specific types of clients. Be sure to ask your prospective planner how he or she is paid.

When Selecting a Planner
As more people call themselves “financial planners,” finding the right professional to address your needs is not always easy. As you consider with whom you would like to work, become familiar with the planner’s business style and understand the level of services he or she provides. Look for a measure of the planner’s commitment to ethical behavior and adherence to high professional standards. Ultimately, you will want a financial planner who will put you and your needs at the center of every financial planning engagement.

Is Your Planner CFP® Certified?
To verify that your planner is authorized by CFP Board to use the CFP® certification marks and to learn more about financial planning, visit letsmakeaplan.org or call toll-free 800.487.1497.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP®(with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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