Certified Financial Planner
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All financial advisors and planners are not the same. 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.
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals are uniquely qualified to help individuals pull all their finances together, solve financial problems, and make a plan to achieve their financial goals.
CFP Board conducted a nationwide consumer survey among upper-income households. That survey reflects the public’s growing demand for financial planners who adhere to rigorous standards. Of those surveyed:
- 85% considered successful completion of a certification examination “very important” or “extremely important.”
- 95% felt financial planners should adhere to professional practice standards.
- 97% said the most important standard for financial planners was adherence to a professional code of ethics.
CFP® CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
The CFP® certification process, administered by CFP Board, identifies to the public that those individuals who have been authorized to use the CFP® certification marks in the U.S. have met rigorous professional standards and have agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients.
To become certified, you are required to meet the following initial certification requirements (known as the four “Es”):
The education requirement for attaining CFP® certification includes two main parts:
- Complete college or university-level coursework through a program registered with CFP Board, addressing the major personal financial planning areas identified by CFP Board’s most recent Job Analysis Study; and
- Verify that you hold a regionally accredited college or university bachelor’s degree or higher (accreditation must be recognized by U.S. Department of Education at the time the degree is awarded).
CFP® professionals must pass a comprehensive two-day, 10-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® certification indicates to the public a CFP® professional’s ability to provide financial planning unsupervised, and CFP Board requires a CFP® professional to have 6,000 hours of professional experience related to the financial planning process, or 4,000 hours of Apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements.
CFP® professionals agree to adhere to the high standards of ethics and practice outlined in CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct (“Standards”) and to acknowledge CFP Board’s right to enforce them through its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (“Disciplinary Rules”). This demonstrates to the public that a CFP® professional has agreed to provide personal financial planning in the client’s best interest and to act in accordance with the highest ethical and professional standards for the practice of financial planning.
To ensure that CFP® professionals remain well-versed in comprehensive financial planning once they have attained CFP® certification, they are required to complete 30 credit hours of continuing education (CE) accepted by CFP Board every two years, including 2 hours of CFP Board-approved Ethics CE. In addition to the biennial continuing education requirement, all CFP® professionals 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.
What a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional Can do for you
No matter where you are in life, CFP® professionals know how to deliver the highest standard of financial planning service to make sure you’re on the right track. From planning for retirement to saving for college, CFP®professionals are trained to help you develop a comprehensive strategy to reach your short- and long-term financial goals.