Broker Check

What Makes A Certified Financial Planner™ Professional?

Did you know there are more than 184 different financial certifications and designations?

So, what makes the Certified Financial Planner™ certification different?

Believe it or not, most people think all financial planners are “certified.” This isn’t true. Anyone can use the title “financial planner.”

But, the Certified Financial Planner™ certification works within the guidelines and requirements of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). CFP Board, a non-profit organization, acts in the public interest by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements for CFP® certification. Whose mission is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning.

Financial Planners who have earned the CFP® certification are part of an elite group of more than 80,000 CFP® professionals who possess the highest credential in the financial planning field. Less than 25% of practicing financial advisors in the industry can claim this distinction.

CFP® professionals are required to have rigorous training and must master nearly 100 topics from taxation to insurance to investments to retirement.  CFP® professionals must pass a comprehensive 6-hour CFP® Certification Exam that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life situations. The exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance. This comprehensive exam ensures that a CFP® professional is highly qualified to develop a plan for your finances.

CFP® professionals must have a minimum of three (3) years full-time experience in the personal financial planning profession prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification. This hands-on experience guarantees that CFP® professionals have practical financial planning knowledge, so you can count on them to help you create a realistic financial plan that fits your individual needs.

CFP® professionals are required to complete comprehensive continuing education coursework requirements to maintain their CFP® certification.

CFP® professionals are held to the highest of standards, as outlined in CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct. They are obliged to uphold the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence as outlined in CFP Board’s Code of Ethics. The Rules of Conduct require CFP® professionals to put their client’s 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 financial planning clients. CFP® professionals are subject to CFP Board sanctions if they violate these standards.

Source: CFP Board website at
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Copyright 2018, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. All rights reserved.  Reprinted with permission

Please Note:  The information being provided is strictly as a courtesy.  When you link to any of the websites provided here, you are leaving this website.  We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these websites.  Nor is the company liable for any direct or indirect technical or system issues or any consequences arising out of your access to or your use of third-party technologies, websites, information or programs made available through this website.  When you access one of these websites, you are leaving our website and assume total responsibility and risk for your use of the websites to which you are linking.