The Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation is a voluntary certification 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 fulfill the following requirements:
- Education Requirement: Complete university-level coursework through a program registered with CFP Board, addressing the major personal financial planning areas; earn an accredited college or university bachelor’s degree or higher; and complete a financial plan development “capstone” course.
- CFP® Certification Examination Requirement: Administered in two 3-hour sessions on one day, the CFP® Certification Examination includes questions associated with case studies 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 Requirement: Complete a minimum of three years of full-time financial planning-related experience (or the equivalent, measured as 2,000 hours per year); and
- Ethics Requirement: 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 ongoing education and ethics requirements in order to maintain the right to use the CFP® marks:
- Complete thirty hours of continuing education every two years, including two hours related to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, to maintain competence and keep up with developments in the financial planning field; and
- 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® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ are certification marks owned by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, LLC. These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
To learn more about CFP® certification, visit www.cfp.net.