Know Your ABCs and CFPs
This should be a bare minimum for consideration. After all, you wouldn't go to a doctor without an MD or a lawyer without a law degree, would you? Of course, doctors and lawyers are legally required to have certain designations in order to practice but the bar is much lower for financial advisors. They must simply pass a test on securities law in order to sell or provide advice on investments. A separate license is required to sell insurance. To fill the gap, a whole alphabet soup of designations have arisen that advisors can essentially purchase to add letters after their name with the hope of buying some credibility. This has led to a lot of confusion for people looking for quality advice.
While there are many respected financial planning credentials, all of our planners are required to have the CFP® mark as it has long been the most widely recognized designation for serious financial planners. To become a CFP® [professional], a financial planner must attain a certain level of financial education, pass a ten hour comprehensive financial planning exam, have at least three years of full time experience, and undergo a background check. To stay in good standing, certificants must continue taking continuing education courses and maintain high ethical standards. Read more >
Erik Carter, CFP®
June 19, 2012