What is a Certified Financial Planner?
An individual who has earned the CFP® mark of distinction has met the education, examination, experience and ethics standards established by the Certified Financial Planners Board of Standards (CFP Board). As a savvy consumer, you need to be aware that anyone can call themselves a “Financial Planner” — but not anyone can use the CFP mark of distinction. It is up to you to differentiate between a planner who has earned the CFP mark and one who hasn’t. CFPs help others to become financially responsible. Good financial planning allows others to make good investments, pay for things upfront and stay clear from quick payday loans and credit card traps.
Financial professionals who have earned the right to use the CFP mark have met the following requirements:
- Education: There are three ways to meet the CFP certification education requirement:
- Completing an education program at a college or university whose curriculum is registered with the CFP Board; or
- Submitting a transcript of previous financial planning-related course work to the CFP Board for review and credit; or
- Showing the attainment of certain professional designations or academic degrees.
- Examination: Individuals must pass a rigorous two-day, 10-hour CFP Certification Examination administered by the CFP Board that covers the financial planning process and includes such topics as tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.
- Experience: Candidates for CFP certification must prove they have experience in the financial planning process before being authorized to use the CFP marks.
- Ethics: As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. 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. Candidates must also adhere to the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility also adhere to the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards.
Additionally, once certified, CFP® practitioners are required to maintain technical competence and fulfill ethical obligations. Every two years, they must complete a minimum 30 hours of continuing education to stay current with developments in the financial planning profession and better serve clients. For more information, please visit www.cfp.net