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. 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 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 the following ongoing education and ethics requirements in order to maintain the right to continue to use the CFP® marks:
- Continuing Education – 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; and
- Ethics – Renew an agreement to be bound by the Standards of Professional Conduct. The Standards prominently require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services at a fiduciary standard of care. This means CFP® professionals must provide financial planning services in the best interests of their clients.
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.
The RICP® (Retirement Income Certified Professional) designation equips advisors with the knowledge to effectively manage the transition from asset accumulation during a client’s working years to asset accumulation in retirement. is currently offered and recognized by The American College. Prerequisites for qualification include three years of professional experience and completion of three required courses, equivalent of 9 semester credit hours. RICP® candidates must also pass a final closed-book, proctored exam. RICP® designees are required to complete 15 hours of continuing education every two years and agree to comply with The American College Code of Ethics and Procedures.
The CKA® (Certified Kingdom Advisor) designation, formerly known as Qualified Kingdom Advisor designation, is currently offered and recognized by Kingdom Advisors, Inc. Advisors who hold the CKA® designation are committed and have been trained to be a person of character who, from a biblical worldview, serves clients with biblical financial advice so that clients can confidently navigate financial decisions as a faithful steward. In addition to completing Kingdom Advisors’ Core Training, all CKA® candidates must sign a “Statement of Faith”, obtain a letter of reference from pastor or ember of pastoral staff, a signed statement of personal stewardship and two client references. Additional prerequisites vary by discipline. Prerequisites for Financial Planners: CFP®, ChFC® or CPA/PFS designation or have ten years of full-time financial planning experience. Candidates must pass an initial open book certification exam and complete ten hours per year of continuing education.