What is the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) Certification?

What does it mean to work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional?

Anyone can call themselves a financial advisor, but only those who have met the certification and renewal requirements of the CFP Board are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals.

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is a non-profit organization acting in the public interest by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements for CFP® certification.

The CFP Board’s mission is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning.

To attain the right to use the CFP® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:

Education

Complete an advanced college-level course of study addressing the financial planning subject areas that CFP Board’s studies have determined as necessary for the competent and professional delivery of financial planning services, and attain a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university (or its equivalent from a foreign university). CFP Board’s financial planning subject areas include insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning;

Examination

Pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Examination. The examination, administered in 10 hours over a two-day period, includes case studies and client scenarios designed to test one’s ability to correctly diagnose financial planning issues and apply one’s knowledge of financial planning to real world circumstances; Experience – Complete at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience (or the equivalent, measured as 2,000 hours per year);

Ethics

Agree to be bound by CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, a set of documents outlining the ethical and practice standards for CFP® professionals.

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.

Working with a CFP® means that you are working with a highly trained, fiduciary, financial professional.