Work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional who has your best interests in mind. See why dealing with a CFP® can change everything!
Why It Is So Important to Work with a CFP®
Most people think that all financial planners are “certified”. This is actually far from true. Anyone can use the title “financial planner”.
A Certified Financial Planner™ professional is held to the fiduciary standard of care when providing financial planning services. That means they are required to act in the client’s best interest at all times. In addition, they have completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards.
Only those financial planners who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of the CFP Board can display the CFP® certification trademarks.
CFP® Certification Requirements
Education – Unlike many financial planners, CFP® professionals must develop their theoretical and practical knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university wth a financial planning curriculum that has been approved by the CFP Board. This requirement can also be satisfied by submitting a transcript review or previous financial planning-related course work. Certain professional designations and degrees covering the important subjects in the CFP Board’s curriculum may also serve.
Examination – CFP® professionals must pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam. This exam tests their abilities to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life scenarios around the planning process, tax planning, employee benefits, retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.
Experience -CFP® professionals complete several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients before they can earn the right to use the CFP® certification trademarks.
Ethics – CFP® professionals are required to uphold the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence as outlined in the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics. The Rules of Conduct require CFP® professionals to put your interests ahead of their own at all times and to provide their financial planning services as a “fiduciary” — acting in the best interest of their clients. CFP® professionals are subject to CFP Board sanctions if they violate these standards.
Enforcement – The CFP Board enforces its Standards of Professional Conduct – including releasing disciplinary information to the public. Everyone who seeks the CFP® certification is subject to a background check and those who do not qualify can be barred from becoming certified. Violations of the CFB Board’s ethical and practical standards are subject to disciplinary action up to the permanent revocation of certification.
How to Choose Your CFP® Professional
It’s always a good idea to ask friends and family if they know any CFP® professionals they might have worked with. Beyond that, these 11 questions are a great place to start.
- What experience do you have?
- What are your qualifications?
- What services do you offer?
- What is your approach to financial planning?
- What types of clients do you typically work with?
- Will you be the only person working with me?
- How will I pay for your services?
- How much do you typically charge?
- Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations?
- Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful for unethical actions in your professional career?
- Can I have it in writing?