CFP – The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, CFP® and federally registered CFP® (with flame design) marks (collectively, the “CFP® marks”) are professional certification marks granted in the United States by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP Board”). The CFP® certification is a voluntary certification; no federal or state law or regulation requires financial planners to hold CFP® certification. It is recognized in the United States and a number of other countries for its (1) high standard of professional education; (2) stringent code of conduct and standards of practice; and (3) ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients. Currently, more than 71,000 individuals have obtained CFP® certification in the United States.
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:
• Continuing Education – Complete 30 hours of continuing education hours every two years, including two hours on 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.
• Ethics – 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.
CFA – A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) charter is a designation given to those who have completed the CFA® Program and completed acceptable work experience requirements. The CFA Program is a three-part exam that tests the fundamentals of investment tools, valuing assets, portfolio management, and wealth planning. The CFA Program is typically completed by those with backgrounds in finance, accounting, economics, or business. CFA charterholders earn the right to use the CFA designation after program completion, application, and acceptance by CFA Institute. CFA charterholders are qualified to work in senior and executive positions in investment management, risk management, asset management, and more.
CIMA – The CIMA® certification signifies that an individual has met initial and on-going experience, ethical, education, and examination requirements for investment management consulting, including advanced investment management theory and application. Prerequisites for the CIMA® certification are three years of financial services experience and an acceptable regulatory history. To obtain the CIMA® certification, candidates must pass
an online Qualification Examination, successfully complete a one-week classroom education program provided by a Registered Education Provider at an AACSB accredited university business school and pass a Certification Examination. CIMA® designees are required to adhere to Investments & Wealth Institute’s Code of Professional Responsibility, Standards of Practice, and Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks. CIMA® designees must report 40 hours of continuing education credits, including two ethics hours, every two years to maintain the certification. The designation is administered through the Investments & Wealth InstituteTM formerly known as Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA®).
CEPS – The Certified Elder Planning Specialist (“CEPS”) designation is a professional designation offered jointly between Salem State University and Plan4Life, LLC. The Elder Planning Specialist Training Program is a ten-week online program that deals with all the complex issues that advisors face when providing advice on the issues that aging clientele may face. After completing the courses, there is a final examination requirement that must be completed before receiving the designation.
CPWA – Certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) is a certification given to financial professionals who service high net worth clients. This certification is designed for experienced financial professionals who want to address the financial needs of those with more than a $5 million net worth. To achieve a CPWA designation candidates must meet the prerequisite, education, and exam requirements. All candidates must obtain all the following:
• A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college or have one of the following license or designation: CIMA, RMA, CFA, CFP, ChFC or CPA license.
• An acceptable record according to the Investments & Wealth Institute’s Admissions Committee.
• Five years of experience in the financial field
• Take the Private Wealth Essentials course from the Investments and Wealth Institute to earn 14 credits and take 1 year off of requirement. There are three requirements that CPWAs must meet to keep their certification. These requirements include completion and reporting 40 hours of continuing education credits (includes two hours of ethics) within a two-year period, paying the renewal fee and completing the compliance requirement.
CDFA – The Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) Program offered through the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. The designation is designed to prepare advisors as an expert on the financial aspects of divorce. For many clients, divorce is the largest financial transaction of their lives. The role of a CDFA® professional is to address the special financial issues of divorce with data to help achieve equitable settlements. Candidates
must have a bachelor’s degree with three years of on-the job experience or, if no bachelor’s degree, five years of relevant experience. CDFA Designation holders must complete all required courses and pass a final examination that consists of 150 multiple choice questions. There is a continuing education requirement to maintain the designation that includes 30 hours of divorce-related continuing education every 2 years.
ChFC – This designation is issued by The American College and is granted to individuals who have at least three years of full-time business experience within the five years preceding the awarding of the designation. The candidate is required to take seven mandatory courses which include the following disciplines: financial, insurance, retirement and estate planning; income taxation, investments and application of financial planning; as well as two elective courses involving the application of the aforementioned disciplines. Each course has a final proctored exam and once issued, the individual is required to submit 30 hours of continuing education every two years.