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CFP® Certification Requirements
Working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional is an important first step toward reaching your financial goals. Not only do these advisors meet rigorous education and experience requirements, but they are also held to the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry.
CFP® professionals must master nearly 100 integrated financial planning topics, including:
In addition to completing a comprehensive financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board, or equivalent academic coursework, CFP® professionals are required to complete continuing education coursework, including a CFP Board approved code of ethics course, to ensure their competence in financial planning.
Establishing and defining the Client-Planner relationshipCFP® practitioners must pass a comprehensive two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. Based on regular research of what planners do, the exam covers:
CFP® professionals must have a minimum of three years experience in the personal financial planning process prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification marks. As a result, CFP® practitioners possess financial advising skills in addition to financial planning knowledge.
As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. CFP Board also performs a background check during this process, and each individual must disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their professional or business conduct.
What to Expect When Working with a CFP® Professional
It is important to understand how CFP® professionals deliver their services and how they are compensated. Planners are compensated for the services they provide in different ways. Some are paid through commissions and others through fees or a combination of both. While all CFP® practitioners are trained to provide you with comprehensive financial planning services, some specialize in one or more areas, or work with specific types of clients. Be sure to ask the planner how he or she is paid.
What Else Should I Remember When Selecting a Planner?
As more people call themselves “financial planners,” finding the right professional to address your financial planning needs isn’t always easy. Become familiar with the planner’s business style and understand the level of services he or she provides. Look for a measure of the planner’s commitment to ethical behavior and adherence to high professional standards. Look for a financial planner who will put you and your needs at the center of every financial planning engagement.
What is CFP® Board's Code of Ethics?
Through the Code of Ethics, CFP® practitioners agree to act fairly and diligently when providing you with financial planning advice and services, putting your interests first.
The Code of Ethics states that the CFP® practitioners are to act with integrity, offering you professional services that are objective and based on your needs. They are required to provide you with information about their sources of compensation and conflicts of interest in writing.