The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation is granted by fi360, formerly known as the Center for Fiduciary Studies. Those who earn the AIF® mark successfully complete a specialized program on investment fiduciary standards of care, pass a comprehensive examination and attest to a Code of Ethics.
The Accredited Asset Management Specialist® (AAMS®) is a professional designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning (CFP) to professionals who successfully complete a self-study program, pass an exam and agree to comply with the Code of Ethics. The program provides advisors with a strong fundamental financial knowledge with a specific focus on asset management and investments.
The Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) designation is awarded to professionals who address unique financial issues of divorce with data to help achieve equitable settlements. To obtain the designation, candidates must complete the course of study and successfully pass the examinations. The position requires 15 hours of divorce-related continuing education every two years.
The Certified Exit Planner™ (CExP™) is a designation awarded by the Business Enterprise Institute (BEI) to candidates who complete the required curriculum of nine training modules. The Exit Planning concepts covered benefit business-owner clients at all stages of ownership, from inception to ownership transfer. Once the curriculum has been completed, candidates must successfully pass an exam. The designation requires 30 hours of continuing education every two years.
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professionals are licensed by the CFP® Board to use the CFP® mark. CFP® certification requirements include: bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, completion of the financial planning education requirements set by the CFP® Board (www.cfp.net), successful completion of the CFP® Certification Exam, comprised of two three-hour sessions, experience requirement: 6,000 hours of professional experience related to the financial planning process or 4,000 hours of apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements, successfully pass the Candidate Fitness Standards and background check, agree annually to be bound by CFP® Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct and complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.
The Certified Fund Specialist™ (CFS™) is a designation awarded by the Institute of Business and Finance (IBF). The designation is awarded to candidates who complete the required self-study program and successfully pass the CFS exam. CFS designation holders have advanced knowledge in the selection and managing of mutual funds. The designation requires 30 hours of continuing education every two years.
The Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) designation awarded by the Investments and Wealth Institute demonstrates certification in portfolio construction, focusing on asset allocation, due diligence, risk measurement, investment policy and performance measurement. Candidates for the program must complete an executive education program through an approved education provider and successfully complete the certification exam. CIMA® designees are required to complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years.
The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the statutory title of qualified public accountants in the US who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional state education and experience requirements. Certification is administered by each state.
The Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional® (CRCP®) designation is awarded to compliance, legal or regulatory professionals who demonstrate knowledge of securities, laws and regulations. Candidates must complete two non-consecutive weeklong residential courses, followed by an exam at the end of each weeklong course. The CRCP® requires 12 hours of continuing education every three years.
The Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) designation is awarded by the ABA Institute of Certified Bankers who demonstrate their knowledge as a trust and financial advisor. Candidates must meet one of the three following requirements to be eligible: three years of wealth management experience plus ICB-approved training, five years of personal trust experience and a bachelor’s degree or 10 years of personal trust experience. Candidates are required to successfully complete a final certification examination. Candidates must complete 45 credits every three years (with a minimum of six hours in each of four knowledge areas) of continuing education.
The Certified Wealth Strategist® (CWS®) designation is awarded by the Cannon Financial Institute to candidates who demonstrate competency in the wealth management field and the issues that may face high net worth clients. Candidates must have three years of experience in the financial services industry that must also include direct interaction with clients and a 4-year degree from an accredited school. Candidates must complete two training sessions, self-study on wealth management issue and a capstone project, followed by ten mastery exams. The CWS® is required to complete 33 hours of continuing education every two years.
The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation is a professional designation offered by the CAIA Association. CAIA designation is the globally-recognized credential for professionals managing, analyzing, distributing or regulating alternative investments. Candidates must complete a course of study and pass two examinations. CAIA designees are required to maintain membership in the CAIA Association and adhere to professional and ethical standards.
Chartered Financial Analysts® (CFA®) are licensed by the CFA® Institute to use the CFA® mark. CFA® certification requirements: hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or have equivalent education or work experience, successful completion of all three exam levels of the CFA® Program, have 48 months of acceptable professional work experience in the investment decision-making process and fulfill society requirements, which vary by society. Unless you are upgrading from affiliate membership, all societies require two sponsor statements as part of each application; these are submitted online by your sponsors.
The Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) is a professional designation awarded by The American College of Financial Services to individuals who specialize in life insurance underwriting and estate planning. Candidates are required to complete eight courses, as well as eight examinations. The designation requires 30 hours of continuing education every year.
The Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor® (CMFC®) is awarded by the College for Financial Planning to professional mutual fund advisers who complete a self-study course followed by a final examination. The designation requires 16 hours of continuing education every two years.
The Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ (FPQP™) is a designation covering the financial planning process, the five disciplines of financial planning, general financial planning concepts and terminology. Individuals who hold this designation have completed the 10-module course of study and then successfully passed an exam. Designees must adhere to the College’s Standards of Professional Conduct and complete sixteen hours of continuing education every two years.
The Juris Doctor (JD) is a graduate degree in law.
The LL.M. degree is a specialized law degree that practicing lawyers who have already passed the bar exam pursue as a way to advance their knowledge of law.
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate level degree providing theoretical and practical training for business or investment management.
The Master of Science in Taxation (MST) program is a graduate degree program specifically designed for certified public accountants and other tax professionals in the areas of conceptual understanding and technical competence.
The Personal Financial Specialist™ (PFS™) designation is awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to candidates who display their expertise in the field of financial planning. Candidates must be a member of the AICPA, hold an unrevoked CPA certificate issued by a state authority and have at least two years of teaching or business experience (3,000 hours equivalent) in personal financial planning within the five-year period preceding the date of the CPA/PFS application. Candidates must have 75 hours of personal financial planning education within the five-year period preceding the date of the PFS application and pass a final examination. The designation requires 60 hours of continuing education every three years.
The Professional Risk Manager (PRM) designation is a globally recognized, graduate-level risk management credential offered by PRMIA. The PRM program is a series of four certification exams, designed to measure the knowledge of professional risk managers and ensure they meet a specific performance standard in their profession. PRM designation holders are required to submit 20 Continued Risk Learning (CRL) credits annually to maintain the PRM designation and remain a PRMIA sustaining member.