Preparation is always an important factor in accomplishing a task, whether that’s cutting down a tree or assisting a client through a complex financial decision. One of the ways we ensure our preparedness to provide sound and thoughtful advice to our clients is by pursuing professional credentials. These designations require comprehensive knowledge and experience in a broad range of financial planning areas. The list of financial credentials that can be obtained is an extensive one, and sometimes confusing. Following is a list of some of the credentials held by Foster Group employees, along with a brief summary of what each means and the qualifications to obtain them.
Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®)
Sponsor URL www.fi360.com
The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation is the mark of commitment to a standard of investment fiduciary excellence. Those who earn the AIF mark successfully complete a specialized program on investment fiduciary standards of care and subsequently passed a comprehensive examination. AIF designees demonstrate a thorough understanding of fi360's Prudent Practices for investment advisors and stewards.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
Sponsor URL www.cfp.net
This designation requires comprehensive knowledge in all areas of financial planning. This includes: insurance planning, risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. Candidates for the CFP® designation must complete educational requirements necessary to sit for the CFP® exam, which covers over 100 topics on integrated financial planning. In addition to passing the exam, certificants must also complete 3 years of qualifying work experience, complete ongoing continuing education, and adhere to the CFP® Board’s Code of Ethics.
Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
Sponsor URL www.theamericancollege.edu
Practically speaking, the ChFC is very similar to the CFP® designation, in that candidates must demonstrate thorough knowledge of financial planning topics by successfully completing a comprehensive exam covering a broad range of financial planning topics. However, the ChFC coursework contains two electives allowing for concentration on specific subjects.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Sponsor URL www.aicpa.org
The CPA designation represents a broad study of business, especially related to attestation. The CPA certificant has an understanding of financial statements, tax, law, and many other business acumen. CPA certificants have successfully completed the Uniform CPA exam, which requires 150 semester hours of qualifying education, and two years of public accounting experience.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®)
Sponsor URL www.cfainstitute.org
The CFA program is a self-study, graduate-level program for investment professionals. The requirements to earn this designation include passing three difficult exams requiring extensive knowledge in accounting, economics, security analysis, and portfolio management. For each test, candidates must commit to approximately 250 hours of reading in preparation.
Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
Related Link www.mba.com
The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree exposes students to a wide range of subjects, allowing for concentration in specific areas of business management of financial topics. It attracts people from a wide range of academic disciplines. The MBA designation originated in the United States, emerging from the late 19th century as the country industrialized and companies sought out scientific approaches to management. The MBA degree has since achieved worldwide recognition.