Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®)
The CFP® certification is a voluntary certification that is recognized for its high standard of professional education, stringent code of conduct and standards of practice, and ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients. To attain the right to use the CFP® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:
Education Requirement: Complete an advanced college‐level course of study addressing the financial planning subject areas that CFP® Board’s studies have determined as necessary for the competent and professional delivery of financial planning services, and attain a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university (or its equivalent from a foreign university). CFP® Board’s financial planning subject areas include insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning;
CFP® Certification Examination Requirement: The examination, administered in two three-hour sessions over one day, includes case studies and client scenarios designed to test one’s ability to correctly diagnose financial planning issues and apply one’s knowledge of financial planning to real world circumstances;
Experience Requirement: Complete a minimum of three years of full-time financial planning-related experience (or the equivalent, measured as 2,000 hours per year); and
Ethics Requirement: Agree to be bound by CFP® Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, a set of documents outlining the ethical and practice standards for CFP® professionals.
Individuals who become certified must complete the following ongoing education and ethics requirements in order to maintain the right to continue to use the CFP® marks:
- Complete 30 hours of continuing education hours every two years, including two hours related to the Code of Ethics and other parts of the Standards of Professional Conduct, to maintain competence and keep up with developments in the financial planning field; and
- Renew an agreement to be bound by the Standards of Professional Conduct. The Standards prominently require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services at a fiduciary standard of care. This means CFP® professionals must provide financial planning services in the best interests of their clients.
Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®)
CPWA® is an advanced education and certification program for financial advisors who work with high net worth clients on the life cycle of wealth: accumulation, preservation, and distribution.
The holistic, multidisciplinary CPWA® program requires advisors to meet rigorous standards:
Education Requirements: Complete executive education at a top 25 global business school.
Examination Requirements: Pass a stringent five-hour examination.
Experience Requirements: At least five years of relevant financial series experience and a clean regulatory record.
Ethics Requirements: Comply with the Institute Code of Professional Responsibility or lose the certification
Continuing Competency Requirements: Stay updated on industry trends, laws, and products with 40 hours of continued education every two years, including two hours of ethics education.
Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®)
The CLU® designation is one of the oldest and most respected credentials in financial services, dating back to the late 1920s. It represents a thorough understanding of a broad array of personal risk management and life insurance planning
To attain the right to use the CLU® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:
Education Requirements: CLU® candidates must complete eight college-level courses—five required and three electives. The required courses include Fundamentals of Insurance Planning; Individual Life Insurance; Life Insurance Law; Fundamentals of Estate Planning; and Planning for Business Owners and Professionals. Elective topics cover financial planning, health insurance, income taxation, group benefits, investments, and retirement planning.
CLU® Examination Requirements: Eight closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams;
Experience Requirements: Candidates are required to have three-years of full-time, relevant business experience; and
Ethics Requirements: Must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”
To retain the Chartered Life Underwriter® designation, a CLU® must complete the Professional Recertification Program. Designees are required to obtain 30 hours of continuing education every two years, with at least one hour of ethics CE required as part of that total. Annually, designees must recommit to The American College of Financial Services standard of ethics, reconfirm client-facing status, update their contact information, and pay the membership fee.
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