How Good Are Your Planner's Credentials?

News & Events


CFP Board in the News

How Good Are Your Planner's Credentials?

Sep 12, 2012

Competing adviser certifications are causing confusion for retirees and other savers.

Leaders of the Financial Planning Association have recently advocated adopting the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ [professional] designation, or CFP® [professional], as the industry's sole credential. "The idea of reducing consumer confusion is paramount," says Paul Auslander, volunteer president of the membership organization. The CFP® [certification] is one of the tougher designations: It requires that holders complete 15 college-level credit hours, plus take a rigorous, 10-hour exam administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. (The first-time pass rate on that exam is between 52% and 57%, according to the board.)

Some prominent planners support the streamlining effort. Rallying the profession behind one designation will put the purveyors of flimsy credentials out of business, says Michael Kitces, director of research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, a wealth management firm in Columbia, Md. Kitces holds the CFP® [certification], among other designations. The minor designations have proliferated, he says, because consumers don't know the difference between credentials that require lots of study and those that don't – they just like to see letters after their planner's name. "A lot of organizations have thrived on being the simpler, easier alternative to the CFP® [certification]," he says. Read more >

Elizabeth O'Brien
September 14, 2012

Speaker's Bureau
CFP Board’s leadership and representatives are available for interviews and speaking engagements on personal finance, the financial planning profession, CFP Board and the CFP® designation.

Did You Know?

Among clients who work with an advisor, 87% of those working with a CFP® professional are satisfied or very satisfied, compared with 72% of those who work with an advisor without certification.
Anyone can call themselves a “financial planner.” Only professionals who meet CFP Board’s rigorous standards can call themselves CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals.
The 2013 Household Financial Planning Survey shows that those with a financial plan feel more confident and report more success managing money, savings and investments than those without a plan.
Let's Make A Plan
Don't address your finances individually. Pull your finances together with the help of a CFP® professional.