What makes an AIF® Designee different from other advisors?
While the practices are available to all advisors, only those who have earned the AIF® (Accredited Investment Fiduciary®) Designation are formally recognized by the center for demonstrating a full understanding of how to implement those processes to help individuals and families achieve their investment goals in a responsible and accountable manner.
AIF® Designees are committed to using the knowledge and resources they have gained through their training to:
- Employ uniform, industry-recognized processes for developing a personalized investment strategy based solely on your specific investment needs.
- Apply objective, comprehensive standards for evaluating and recommending investment options for your portfolio.
- Monitor and report performance of your portfolio and its underlying investments on an ongoing basis, and recommending changes when necessary.
- Conduct ongoing reviews of his or her business practices to ensure fiduciary principles are being properly applied.
- Designees are also trained to evaluate the fiduciary practices of investment stewards such as 401(k) and defined benefit plan sponsors and those responsible for managing endowment and foundation assets.
To maintain the Designation, AIF® Designees must complete continuing education training to keep up to date with changes in the industry and the ongoing evolution of legal requirements under the fiduciary standard. They also must recognize and formally affirm the principles and obligations stated in the Designee Code of Ethics, which governs their professional and ethical conduct.
What does it mean to have your RFC?
The Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) is a distinction earned by financial advisors by the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC) for meeting the high standards of education, experience and integrity that are required of all its members.*
The IARFC organization’s goal is to encourage conduct and collaboration between professional advisors, with strong emphasis on the importance of continuing education.*
The Minimum Requirements for a Registered Financial Consultant:
- EXPERIENCE Must have a minimum of four years of experience as a full-time practitioner in the field of financial planning or financial services.
- EDUCATION Applicant must possess a baccalaureate or graduate degree in financial planning services or hold one of the following professional degrees or designation: AAMS, CFA, CFP, ChFC, CLU, CPA, EA, JD. Alternatively, a candidate may complete a CFP-equivalent course at an accredited institution or an IARFC approved curriculum and passed a written examination. Each applicant must have at least four years of professional experience in the field of financial planning or financial services, meet local licensing requirements, and adhere to the RFC Code of Ethics. The RFC designation requires 40 hours of Continuing Education every year, including two hours of business ethics every two years.
- EXAMINATION The educational curriculum must have included an examination process. If not, an experienced candidate must pass on RFC challenge examination.
- LICENSING Applicant must have met local licensing requirements securities, life and health insurance; or an applicant who is a fee-only planner and is not licensed must submit information on the applicant’s RIA or ARIA affiliation or business conduct procedures.
- CONDUCT Applicant must have a sound record of business integrity with no suspension or revocation of any profession licenses.
- ETHICS Applicant must subscribe and adhere to the RFC Code of Ethics.
- CONTINUING EDUCATION All members must agree to devote a minimum of 40 hours per year of Professional Continuing Education in the field of personal finance and professional practice management.
- RE-CERTIFICATION Annually provide assurance of continued compliance and operation.**
What is a CFP®?
The CFP® (Certified Financial Planner®) certification marks identify professionals who have met the high standards of competency and ethics established and enforced by CFP Board. CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct require CFP® professionals to act in their clients’ best interests.*
The CFP® certification process, administered by CFP Board, identifies to the public that those individuals who have been authorized to use the CFP® certification marks in the U.S. have met rigorous professional standards and have agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients.**
To become certified, you are required to meet the following initial certification requirements (known as the four “Es”):
- EDUCATION Unlike many financial advisors, CFP® professionals must develop their theoretical and practical knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board. Applicants may also satisfy the education requirement by submitting a transcript review or previous financial planning-related course work. Or, they can show that they have attained certain professional designations or academic degrees that cover the important subjects in CFP Board’s financial planning curriculum.
- EXAMINATION CFP® professionals must pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam, which tests their abilities 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.
- EXPERIENCE CFP® professionals complete several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification trademarks. 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.
- ETHICS When it comes to ethics and professional responsibility, 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 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 financial planning clients. CFP® professionals are subject to CFP Board sanctions if they violate these standards.***
What is the CLU® Designation?
Financial planners with a CFP® designation will often earn the CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) designation title to demonstrate their education in the areas of life insurance and estate planning to existing and potential clients. Having additional knowledge in these areas may give financial planners a competitive edge over other planners with fewer credentials.*
A professional designation for individuals who wish to specialize in life insurance and estate planning. Individuals must complete five core courses and three elective courses, and successfully pass all eight two-hour, 100-question examinations in order to receive the designation.
Practitioners with the CLU® designation provide guidance on a variety of financial and insurance topics. A CLU® develops and implements financial plans for individuals, businesses, and organizations, focusing on risk management in general and health and life insurance needs in particular.
In order to obtain the CLU® designation, a number of requirements must be met. An applicant must:
- Take and pass eight courses administered by The American College
- Have at least three years of qualifying full-time business experience in insurance or financial planning
- Pass a fitness standards and background check
- Comply with The American College Code of Ethics and Procedures
Once appointed, a CLU® must meet continuing education requirements in order to maintain the certification.**
What does it mean to have a CRPC® Designation?
Individuals who hold the CRPC® (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor®) designation have completed a course of study encompassing pre-and post-retirement needs, asset management, estate planning and the entire retirement planning process using models and techniques from real client situations.
Additionally, individuals must pass an end-of-course examination that tests their ability to synthesize complex concepts and apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations. All designees have agreed to adhere to Standards of Professional Conduct and are subject to a disciplinary process.
Designees renew their designation every two-years by completing 16 hours of continuing education, reaffirming adherence to the Standards of Professional Conduct and complying with self-disclosure requirements.*
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