There are over 100 certifications available to financial professionals - Investment Advisor, Investment Advisor Representative, Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and Stock Broker - to name a few. But what is it about the CFP® (Certified Financial PlannerTM) designation that makes it considered to be the standard of excellence in the financial planning industry?
It’s not easy to earn the CFP® designation. The amount of expertise, rigor and work it takes to achieve is extensive. Preparation can take anywhere from one to four+ years as candidates complete education and work requirements before taking the demanding six hour exam (with a pass rate of just 60%). Few, if any, other financial certifications require the same amount of time, preparation, knowledge and commitment. With only about 20% of all financial advisors holding the CFP® designation, it is truly a distinguishing mark.
A second reason why the CFP® matters is because it is the most comprehensive financial planning designation. Most other financial certifications apply to professionals who work only with individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds or retirement funds. In other words, these professionals do not address all aspects of the entire financial planning process. The CFP® designation, on the other hand, indicates proficiency in all areas of financial planning including taxes, cash flow, stocks, bonds, insurance, retirement planning, estate planning, charitable giving, education and legacy planning.
It Holds Advisors To A High Ethical Standard
Another notable requirement of the CFP® is the fiduciary aspect. All advisors with the CFP® designation are committed to the fiduciary standard, or code of ethics, which mandates they must always put a clients’ needs ahead of their own. The CFP board oversees each CFP®, ensuring they adhere to a code of ethics, meet professional responsibility standards and continue in their education.
At our business, we are extremely proud to have both Lee Stoerzinger and Matt Benson as Certified Financial PlannersTM, affirming their ongoing commitment to our clients, their profession and industry.