AIF® - Accredited Investment Fiduciary: AIF® designees have successfully completed a specialized program on investment fiduciary standards of care and have a thorough knowledge of fiduciary responsibility. Designees are formally trained to assist plan fiduciaries in Prudent Process and Best Practices. This professional designation is awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies, which is associated with the University of Pittsburgh.
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, 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 62,000 individuals have obtained CFP® certification in the United States.
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); and
- 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 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 to continue to use the CFP® marks. CFP® professionals who fail to comply with the above standards and requirements may be subject to CFP Board’s enforcement process, which could result in suspension or permanent revocation of their CFP® certification.
Accredited Asset Management Specialist℠: A professional designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning to financial professionals who successfully complete a self-study program, pass an exam and agree to comply with a code of ethics. Successful applicants earn the right to use the AAMS designation with their names for two years, which can improve job opportunities, professional reputation and pay. Every two years, AAMS professionals must complete 16 hours of continuing education and pay a fee to continue using the designation. The AAMS program is developed in conjunction with some of the nation's top investment firms. Applicants study case studies based on real-life scenarios designed to prepare them to be effective in the real world and build lasting relationships with clients.
Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist℠: A professional designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning to individuals who specialize in creating, implementing and maintaining retirement plans for businesses. They must pass an exam demonstrating their expertise. Successful applicants earn the right to use the CRPS designation with their names for two years, which can improve job opportunities, professional reputation and pay. Every two years, CRPS professionals must complete 16 hours of continuing education and pay a nominal fee to continue using the designation.