CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Certification Requirements: The Four E’s

Taking a comprehensive approach to meeting clients’ financial needs, a Financial Advisor with the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS™ certification has completed training on nearly 100 integrated financial topics, including:

  • General principles of financial strategies
  • Insurance planning and risk management
  • Employee benefits planning
  • Retirement and estate planning In addition to finishing the coursework on financial topics, the candidate is required to have earned a bachelor’s degree (or higher) or its equivalent, in any discipline, from an accredited college or university.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ 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.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ 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.

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. CFP® professionals are subject to CFP Board sanctions if they violate these standards.

How Does CFP Board’s Code of Ethics Benefit Me?

Most people think that all financial advisor are “certified,” but this isn’t true. Anyone can call himself or herself a “financial planner.” Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of CFP™ Board can display the CFP™ certification marks.

Ongoing Certification Requirements

Once certified, CFP™ practitioners are required to maintain technical competence and fulfill ethical obligations. Every two years, they must complete a minimum 30 hours of continuing education to stay current with developments in the financial planning profession and better serve clients. Two of these hours are spent studying or discussing CFP™ Board’s Code of Ethics or Practice Standards. In addition to the biennial continuing education requirement, all CFP™ practitioners voluntarily disclose any public, civil, criminal or disciplinary actions that may have been taken against them during the previous two years as part of the renewal process.