There are an estimated 285,000 ‘financial advisors’ in the United States; only 1 in 5 are Certified Financial Planner™ professionals.  Most people think all financial planners are certified, but it isn’t true– nor are all certifications the same. Anyone may call themselves a financial planner, but only those who have fulfilled the certification requirements of the CFP Board can display the CFP® certification marks.

Requirements for CFP certification:

Education:
CFP professionals are required to develop their theoretical and practical knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university with a curriculum approved by the CFP Board.

Examination:
By the time a student sits down to take the CFP certification exam, they have studied for an average of 1,000 hours to get there.  The CFP certification exam tests students ability to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life situations. The exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement, estate planning, investment management and insurance. The pass rate is about 50%.

Experience:
CFP pros must have a minimum of three years (6,000 hours) experience in the financial planning process prior to earning the right to use the CFP marks.

Ethics:
CFP Professionals are held to the highest standards. CFP Board’s Code of Ethics outlines CFP obligations to uphold principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness and confidentiality. CFP professionals are required to put their clients’ interests above their own, and to provide their financial planning services as a fiduciary– always acting in the best interest of their financial planning clients.

For more information, see About CFP Board