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What is a CFP®?

Most people think all financial planners are “certified,” but this isn’t true. Anyone can use the title “financial planner.” Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of CFP Board can display the CFP® certification trademarks which represent a high level of competency, ethics and professionalism. And because they are held to a fiduciary standard of care, a CFP® professional is required to act in your best interest.

Education

CFP® practitioners develop theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

Examination

CFP® practitioners must pass a comprehensive two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply their financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. Based on regularly updated research of what financial planners do, the CFP® Board's exam covers the general principles of financial planning, insurance and risk management, employee benefits, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning and estate planning.

Experience

CFP® practitioners must have a minimum of three years' experience working in the financial planning process prior to earning the CFP® mark. As a result, CFP® practitioners have demonstrated a working knowledge of counseling skills in addition to their financial planning knowledge.

Ethics

As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners must pass an ethics review and agree to abide by the CFP®  Board's Financial Planning Practice Standards and a strict code of professional conduct, known as the CFP®  Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. The Code of Ethics states that CFP® practitioners are to act with integrity, offering professional services that are objective and based on client needs.

Re-certification

It is also necessary for every CFP® certificant, once certified, to complete a re-certification every two years. Those seeking to maintain their certification must attain a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education in order to stay current with developments in the financial planning profession and to better serve their clients. Two of these hours must be spent studying the CFP® Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility or Financial Planning Practice Standards.

For more information and to visit the CFP Board of Standards Website Click Here.