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FSCP™ (Financial Services Certified Professional™)

Overview:

The FSCP™ designation offers Product and skills training as the foundation for career-long learning. The content available in this program of study includes: prospecting, business insurance, meeting client needs, exploring personal markets, product training, and more.  

In addition, new self-paced modules will cover healthcare reform, divorce planning, estate planning, term and whole life insurance, use of social media in financial services, and other topics. New modules will continue to be introduced covering all the latest areas vital to an advisor's practice.

Educational Requirements:

To earn the FSCP™ designation, candidates must complete 10 educational units, The Ethical Advisor module, the Certification Course (live webinar), and the designation exam. Designees must also abide by The American College's Code of Ethics and take 3 hours of approved ethics-related CE every two years.

“Educational Units” Explained

"Educational Units" are used to measure the credit for courses and modules relative to the designation requirements. Each candidate needs to take 10 elective educational units. Live local, live online, and asynchronous online classes are 2 "EUs" each, while self-paced modules are 1 EU. Approved company training programs may also qualify for up to 4 EUs.

Prerequisites/Experience:

N/A

Ethics:

Must adhere to the The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”
 
Further, designees must also take 3 hours of approved ethics-related CE every two years.

Examinations:

Successful completion of an FA course requires meeting requirements in the areas of attendance, final examination, and term grade, as described below. Grades are stated only as “pass” or “non-pass.”
Attendance:You may be absent for no more than two regularly scheduled classes.
 
Moderator’s grade:Is an average of the grades earned by the student for class participation, written assignments, sales planning projects, and action projects.
 
Final exam:To be eligible to take the final exam, you must meet the attendance requirements, as well as receive a pass for the moderator’s grade.
 
Course grade:Students who pass the final exam will receive a “Pass” grade for the course. Students who do not pass or take the final exam will receive a “Non-pass” grade for the course.
 
Please note:All FA courses, whether taken in the classroom or online, only qualify for self-study CE. (Texas and Utah students should take special note).
 
FA 290 is a self-study course that concludes with an online examination. For all FA classes starting on or after January 1, 2014, students will take proctored online exams, except for students licensed in New York, who take paper exams administered by their registered proctor. If you fail a final exam, but have met all other course requirements, you may request a re-examination. See Tuition and Fees on page 82 for eligibility, fees and instructions.”
 
FP Modules
All FP modules conclude with a proctored on-line examination except for students licensed in New York, who take paper exams administered by their registered proctor. The final Certification Examination is administered at an EOD® testing center. All students eligible to take the final exam will receive an EOD® (Examination on Demand) ticket by email.

Continuing Education:

CE will be available for some courses and not others. Each course or module will clearly indicate whether or not CE is available at registration.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the FSCP™. The American College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States. TheAmericanCollege.edu/

ChSNC (Chartered Special Needs Consultant)

Overview:

The ChSNC™ (Chartered Special Needs Consultant™) program teaches experienced financial professionals the technical and collaborative skills necessary to help clients make plans for the future security of a loved one who has special needs.

Educational Requirements:

ChSNC™ candidates must complete two self-study courses and one live webinar capstone. The required courses include: Introduction to Disability, Legal and Financial Issues for Special Needs Families and Financial Planning for Special Needs Families.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Use of the ChSNC credential requires an extensive financial planning background. All designees using the mark with the public must have also completed either the CLU®, ChFC®, CFP®, PFS credential, or master's degree in either financial planning or an equivalent area of study.

Ethics:

Designees must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Requires three closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams.

Continuing Education:

15 hours of continuing education every two years through The American College’s PACE recertification program.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of academic accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with a heritage dating back to 1927, confers the ChSNCTM. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.

RICP® (Retirement Income Certified Professional®)

Overview:

An RICP® designee is trained to understand how to structure effective retirement income plans, how to mitigate risks to the plan, and how to create a sustainable stream of income to last throughout a client’s retirement years.

Educational Requirements:

Requires three college-level courses with anticipated total study and preparation time of 150 hours. The three courses are: Retirement Income Process, Strategies & Solutions; Sources of Retirement Income; and Managing the Retirement Income Plan.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Requires three years of full-time, relevant business experience.

Ethics:

Designees must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Requires three closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams.

Continuing Education:

15 hours of continuing education every two years through The American College’s PACE recertification program.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the Certification Committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of academic accreditation – regional accreditation – through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution since 1927, confers the RICP®. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.

CPA (Certified Public Accountant)

Overview:

The CPA is the respected mark of excellence for public accountants.

Educational Requirements:

Requirements for the CPA are set by each state board of accountancy. The requirements include completing a program of accounting study at a college or university, passing the Uniform CPA Exam, and meeting experience requirements. Most states require at least a bachelor’s degree to become a CPA.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Specific amounts of professional work experience in public accounting are required but vary by state licensing jurisdiction. Most states require at least two years of public accountancy experience.

Ethics:

CPAs must adhere to the AICPA code of conduct. You can view that code at: http://www.aicpa.org/Research/Standards/CodeofConduct/Pages/default.aspx

Examinations:

The Uniform CPA Exam helps ensure that only qualified individuals become licensed as Certified Public Accountants, but passing the exam alone is not sufficient for licensure. Experience and educational requirements, which vary by state, must also be met.

Continuing Education:

All AICPA members must complete 120 hours of CPE (continuing professional education) every three years to maintain their membership. State CE requirements vary by jurisdiction.

Enforcement:

Non-compliant CPAs may be disciplined by the Professional Ethics Division of the AICPA through confidential disciplinary actions, suspension or revocation of membership rights, or referral to a panel of the Trial Board Division for a hearing, any guilty finding of which is published. State and territorial CPA societies participate in joint enforcement programs with the AIPCA. Only state regulatory agencies (Boards of Accountancy) issue practice licenses to CPAs, and only those agencies can remove those licenses. Disciplinary actions taken by the AICPA may be viewed here: http://www.aicpa.org/ForThePublic/DisciplinaryActions/Pages/default.aspx

Accreditation:

None, although educational requirements are met through accredited colleges and universities.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Consumers may file complaints by contacting the AICPA at (888) 777-7077 or by sending a letter of complaint to:

AICPA
220 Leigh Farm Road
Durham, NC 27707
Attn: Professional Ethics Division

Issuing Institution:

The Board of Accountancy in each state issues CPA licenses to those who have passed all appropriate requirements for use of the mark, and each state has different regulations in this regard. AICPA, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) seeks the highest level of uniform certification and licensing standards among the various states while promoting and protecting the CPA designation. AICPA is the world's largest association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 370,000 members in 128 countries.
AICPA.org

RHU® (Registered Health Underwriter®)

Overview:

The RHU® designation is one of the few credentials focused exclusively on health insurance, incorporating aspects of both group and individual programs. The curriculum covers the most current information on a full range of benefits laws, including COBRA, ERISA, and HIPAA.

Educational Requirements:

RHU® candidates must complete three college-level courses, two required and one elective. The required courses are Group Benefits and Advanced Topics in Group Benefits. Elective topics cover individual health insurance and managed care.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Requires three-years of full-time, relevant business experience.

Ethics:

Must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Requires three closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams.

Continuing Education:

30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the RHU®. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.
View the Brochure
TheAmericanCollege.edu/RHU

PFS (Personal Financial Specialist)

Overview:

The PFS credential is awarded to CPAs who demonstrate the powerful combination of extensive tax expertise and a comprehensive knowledge of financial planning.

Educational Requirements:

A PFS candidate must earn a minimum of 80 hours of personal financial planning education within the five-year period preceding the date of the PFS application. The education must be in the nine areas that make up the PFS Body of Knowledge (personal financial planning process, income tax planning, insurance planning, investment planning, financial independence, employee benefits, performance management, charitable planning, and special needs).

Prerequisites/Experience:

In addition to meeting educational requirements, PFS candidates must:

  • Hold a valid CPA license
  • Join the AICPA and be a member in good standing
  • Have at least two years of full-time experience in personal financial planning within the five-year period preceding the date of the PFS application

Ethics:

CPAs who hold a PFS must adhere to the AICPA code of conduct. You can view that code at: http://www.aicpa.org/Research/Standards/CodeofConduct/Pages/default.aspx

Examinations:

The comprehensive PFS exam is given during two exam windows annually and lasts for more than seven hours. Alternately, CPAs may satisfy the PFS exam requirement by earning either of the other two major financial planning credentials: CFP® certification or the ChFC® designation.

Continuing Education:

60 hours of CPE related to the PFP body of knowledge is required.

Enforcement:

Non-compliant PFS credential holders may be disciplined up to and including loss of the credential. Disciplinary actions for AICPA are released publicly and may be viewed here: http://www.aicpa.org/ForThePublic/DisciplinaryActions/Pages/default.aspx

Accreditation:

None, although educational requirements may be met through accredited providers.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Consumers may file complaints by contacting the AICPA at (888) 777-7077 or by sending a letter of complaint to:

AICPA
220 Leigh Farm Road
Durham, NC 27707
Attn: Professional Ethics Division

Issuing Institution:

The PFS credential is issued by The American institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). AICPA is the world’s largest association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 370,000 members in 128 countries.
AICPA.org

REBC® (Registered Employee Benefits Consultant®)

Overview:

The REBC® designation is designed for specialists in the complex field of employee benefits. The program covers pensions, retirement plan funding, group medical plans, long-term care, executive compensation, personnel management, and other benefit programs.

Educational Requirements:

REBC® candidates must complete five college-level courses, three required and two electives. The required courses are Group Benefits, Planning for Retirement Needs, and Advanced Topics. Elective courses cover executive compensation, personnel management, and managed care.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Requires three-years of full-time, relevant business experience.

Ethics:

Must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Requires five closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams.

Continuing Education:

30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the REBC®. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.
View the Brochure
TheAmericanCollege.edu/REBC

FSS (Financial Services Specialist)

Overview:

The FSS designation provides financial advisors with the core knowledge and skills they need to provide essential planning and advisory assistance to consumers and businesses. FSS professionals often continue their education to earn such advanced credentials as CFP® certification, the ChFC®, or the CLU®.

Educational Requirements:

FSS candidates must complete six courses, three required and three electives. The required courses are Ethics for the Financial Services Professional, Foundations of Financial Planning: An Overview, and Foundations of Financial Planning: The Process. Advisors choose electives based on their individual practices and needs. Topics available include product education on long-term care, life insurance, annuities, disability income insurance, and business insurance. Skills-based training includes how to best meet client needs and the basics of estate planning, retirement planning, and investment planning.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Candidates must be a member of NAIFA to be awarded the designation following completion of all of the educational requirements.

Ethics:

Must adhere to the The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Proctored, closed book exams follow each course.

Continuing Education:

New FSS designees in 2010 or later must complete three hours of approved ethics training every two years.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the FSS designation. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.
TheAmericanCollege.edu/FSS

CPCU® (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter)

Overview:

CPCU® designees have completed an extensive program encompassing broad technical knowledge and high ethical standards focused on risk management for individuals and businesses.

Educational Requirements:

The CPCU® requires eight courses: four required foundation courses, one elective course, and three courses in either the personal lines or commercial lines concentration. The four required courses are: Foundations of Risk Management and Insurance, Insurance Operations, Business Law for Insurance Professionals, and Finance and Accounting for Insurance Professionals. Electives cover agency operations, workers compensation, loss adjusting, liability claims, reinsurance, commercial underwriting, and other areas. The concentrations include specialized courses in commercial and personal risk management.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Two years of relevant experience is required.

Ethics:

The CPCU® Code includes Canons and Rules regarding ethical standards of conduct. Advisory Opinions can be requested to assist in interpreting the various Code provisions when a question arises. View the full Code at: http://www.aicpcu.org/doc/canons.pdf

Examinations:

Final course exams are closed book and proctored.

Continuing Education:

None.

Enforcement:

The Board of Ethical Inquiry may impose any of the following sanctions: private admonition, including a request to cease and desist; reprimand (informal rebuke given limited publication); censure (formal rebuke given wide publication); suspension of the privilege to use the designation; revocation of the designation.

Accreditation:

None.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Any complaint alleging a violation of the CPCU® Code of Professional Conduct should be submitted in writing to:

Ethics Council
The Institutes
720 Providence Rd., Suite 100
Malvern, PA 19355

Issuing Institution:

The CPCU® designation is issued through the American Institute for CPCU and the Insurance Institute of America (The Institutes)
AICPCU.org

CIMA® Certification (Certified Investment Management AnalystSM)

Overview:

The CIMA® designation is designed specifically for financial professionals who want to attain a level of competency as an advanced investment consultant.

Educational Requirements:

Educational component is offered through Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Topics include modern portfolio theory, asset allocation, manager search and selection, investment policy, and performance measurement.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Candidates must pass a Qualification Examination prior to enrolling in the education program and undergo a background check through IMCA.

Ethics:

CIMA® designees must abide by the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Standards of Practice. The full text of these may be found by visiting: http://www.imca.org/main/do/imcaguidebook

Examinations:

Certification exam is administered at designated times during the year at national testing centers.

Continuing Education:

40 hours of continuing education, including two ethics hours, required every two years.

Enforcement:

Public disciplinary process is available online: http://www.imca.org/main/do/disciplinaryactions

Accreditation:

The CIMA® credential is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Consumers may file a complaint by downloading a grievance form from http://www.imca.org/main/do/get_page/pageID/94 and mailing it to:

IMCA
Attn: Complaints
5619DTC Parkway, Suite 500
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Issuing Institution:

The Investment Management Consultants Association grants the CIMA® designation.

CLF® (Chartered Leadership Fellow®)

Overview:

The CLF® designation indicates advanced education in leading financial services teams. Coursework includes a combination of self-study and academic residency at The American College.

Educational Requirements:

CLF® candidates must complete seven required courses: Integrated Leadership Practices; Practice Management Concepts; Leadership in a Changing World; Interpersonal Relationships in the Workplace; Creative Problem-Solving & Strategic Planning; Leading the Marketing Organization of the Future; and the Field Management Seminar.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Requires three-years of full-time, relevant business experience.

Ethics:

Must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Requires seven open-book, essay exams.

Continuing Education:

30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the CLF®. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.
TheAmericanCollege.edu/CLF

ChHC™ (Chartered Healthcare Consultant™)

Overview:

The ChHC® designation is the most comprehensive, current credential incorporating the latest information on healthcare reform and other group benefits issues. Two new required courses were launched in 2011, and other course material continues to be updated to reflect the latest developments in the changing world of healthcare.

Educational Requirements:

ChHC® candidates must complete six college-level courses, five required and one elective. The required courses include Essentials of Healthcare Reform; The Healthcare Consultant; Individual Health Insurance; Group Benefits; and Advanced Topics in Group Benefits. Electives cover such topics as executive compensation,retirement planning, compensation and personnel management, and managed care.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Requires three-years of full-time, relevant business experience.

Ethics:

Must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Requires six closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams.

Continuing Education:

30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the ChHC®. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.
TheAmericanCollege.edu/ChHC

CLU® (Chartered Life Underwriter®)

Overview:

The CLU® designation is one of the oldest and most respected credentials in financial services, dating back to the late 1920’s. It represents a thorough understanding of a broad array of personal risk management and life insurance planning issues and stresses ethics, professionalism, and in-depth knowledge in the delivery of financial advice.

Educational Requirements:

CLU® candidates must complete eight college-level courses, five required and three electives. The required courses include Fundamentals of Insurance Planning; Individual Life Insurance; Life Insurance Law; Fundamentals of Estate Planning; and Planning for Business Owners and Professionals. Elective topics cover financial planning, health insurance, income taxation, group benefits, investments, and retirement planning.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Requires three-years of full-time, relevant business experience.

Ethics:

Must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Requires eight closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams.

Continuing Education:

30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the CLU®. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.
CLUHighestStandard.com
TheAmericanCollege.edu/CLU

ChFC® (Chartered Financial Consultant®)

Overview:

The ChFC® designation has been a mark of excellence for financial planners for almost thirty years and currently requires more courses than any other financial planning credential. The curriculum covers extensive education and application training in all aspects of financial planning, income taxation, investments, and estate and retirement planning.

Educational Requirements:

ChFC® candidates must complete nine college-level courses, seven required and two electives. The required courses include Financial Planning: Process and Environment; Fundamentals of Insurance Planning; Income Taxation; Planning for Retirement Needs; Investments; Fundamentals of Estate Planning; and Financial Planning Applications.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Requires three-years of full-time, relevant business experience.

Ethics:

Must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Requires nine closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams.

Continuing Education:

30 hours of continuing education every two years.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the ChFC®. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.
ChFCHighestStandard.com
TheAmericanCollege.edu/ChFC

CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)

Overview:

CFA Institute is respected for providing real-world knowledge for working investment professionals. For almost 50 years the CFA mark has represented rigorous, in-depth education for top investment analysts.

Educational Requirements:

Completing the CFA program takes an average of about four years. Successful candidates spend about 300 hours preparing for each exam. Topic areas covered include ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, and portfolio management and wealth planning.

Prerequisites/Experience:

CFA program entrants must have a bachelor’s or equivalent degree or have four years of qualified, professional work experience.

Ethics:

CFA charter holders must adhere to CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. The Code covers placing the integrity of the profession and the interest of clients about those of the charter holder; acting with integrity, competence, and respect; and improving and maintaining professional competence. The Standards cover professionalism; integrity of the capital markets; duties to clients; duties to employers; investment analysis and recommendations; and conflicts of interest. More information can be found at: http://www.cfainstitute.org/ethics/codes/ethics/Pages/index.aspx

Examinations:

The CFA program includes a series of three exams that are offered in testing centers throughout the world. Each exam must be passed sequentially as one of the requirements for earning a CFA charter.

Continuing Education:

There are no formal continuing education requirements for charter holders.

Enforcement:

Disciplinary process includes options for a private reprimand, censure, suspension of membership, suspension of the right to use the CFA designation, revocation of membership, or revocation of the right to use the CRA designation. More information is available at http://www.cfainstitute.org/ethics/conduct/Pages/process.aspx

Accreditation:

None.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Consumers can submit a complaint about a CFA charter holder online at http://www.cfainstitute.org/ethics/conduct/Pages/complaint_center.aspx

Issuing Institution:

CFA Institute issues the CFA mark. CFA Institute is a global, not-for-profit organization comprising the world’s largest association of investment professionals. CFA Institute is dedicated to developing and promoting the highest educational, ethical, and professional standards in the investment industry.
CFAInstitute.org

CFP® Certification (Certified Financial Planner™)

Overview:

The CFP® certification is one of the top generalist marks financial planners can earn. This high-quality, rigorous program covers a broad base of financial planning subject areas and trains certificants in the discipline of financial planning.

Educational Requirements:

Applicants must complete an approved educational program consisting of either five or six college-level courses in such subject areas as insurance planning and risk management, the financial planning process, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. Alternately, candidates may sit for the comprehensive exam if they have previously earned one of the following professional credentials or educational degrees: CPA, ChFC®, CLU®, CFA, Ph.D. in business or economics, DBA, or JD.

Prerequisites/Experience:

CFP® certification candidates must have attained a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited college or university and must have completed at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience.

Ethics:

CFP® certificants are bound by CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct. The standards require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services with a fiduciary standard of care, meaning they must act in the best interests of their clients.

Examinations:

CFP® candidates must pass all course exams required by approved educational providers and, upon completion of the educational requirements, must sit for the national CFP Board exam, which is administered in 10 hours over a two-day period, to earn certification.

Continuing Education:

30 hours of approved continuing education is required every two years.

Enforcement:

CFP Board’s disciplinary process is public and can take three forms: public letters of admonition, temporary suspension of CFP® certification, or permanent revocation of CFP® certification. Disciplinary actions may be viewed online at: http://www.cfp.net/Learn/disciplineactions.asp

Accreditation:

The academic institutions providing the educational component of CFP® certification are all accredited. The certification itself is accredited through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Complaints against CFP® certificants may be filed with CFP Board online at: http://www.cfp.net/Learn/submit.asp

Issuing Institution:

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., awards the CFP® certification. CFP Board’s mission is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning.
CFP.net

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP (with flame logo)® in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP® Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

CEBS (Certified Employee Benefits Specialist)

Overview:

The CEBS program provides education for advisors working in the employee benefits and compensation industry through an eight-course curriculum.

Educational Requirements:

CEBS designees have completed six required and two elective courses. Required courses include: Group Health Plan Design; Group Benefits Management; Retirement Plan Design; Retirement Plan Management; Human Resources and Compensation Management; Compensation Concepts and Principles.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Applicants for the CEBS designation cannot have engaged in any conduct that would bring discredit to the CEBS program during the 15-year period prior to completion of the application and on or after the candidate’s 18th birthday

Ethics:

CEBS designees must adhere to the CEBS Pledge: “I pledge to abide by the CEBS Principles of Conduct in all my fiduciary, business and professional relationships, and to participate only in activities that conform with the spirit of those principles; I shall strive at all times to maintain and uphold the highest standards of honor and integrity, so that the quality of my work will reflect credit on the CEBS designation, my profession and the employee benefits field. View Principles of Conduct here: http://www.ifebp.org/CEBSDesignation/Register/US/conduct.htm

Examinations:

Requires closed-book, proctored examinations for each course.

Continuing Education:

No requirement.

Enforcement:

No defined procedure.

Accreditation:

While IFEBP has no accreditation, it’s academic partner, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, is accredited.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

No defined procedure.

Issuing Institution:

The CEBS designation is issued by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
IFEBP.org

CAP® (Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®)

Overview:

The advisor earning the CAP® designation has taken three courses in philanthropy covering various impacts of planning for family wealth, charitable giving, and gift planning for non-profits. The courses are offered through the Irwin Graduate School of The American College.

Educational Requirements:

Requires three graduate-level courses: Planning for Impact in the Context of Family Wealth; Charitable Strategies; and Gift Planning in a Nonprofit Context.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Requires three-years of full-time, relevant business experience.

Ethics:

Must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.” Must also subscribe to at least one of the following:

  • The Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
  • The Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner adopted by the National Committee on Planned Giving (NCPG) and The American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA).

CAP® designees must also subscribe in writing to the provisions of The Donor Bill of Rights.

Examinations:

Requires three closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams.

Continuing Education:

15 hours of continuing education every two years in course work directly related to the material required to obtain the CAP® designation.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the CAP®. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts and is the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.
View the brochure
TheAmericanCollege.edu/CAP

AEP® (Accredited Estate Planner®)

Overview:

The AEP® designation is a graduate-level specialization in estate planning, obtained in addition to already recognized professional credentials within the various disciplines of estate planning who support the team concept of estate planning. It is awarded to estate planning professionals who meet stringent requirements of experience, knowledge, education, professional reputation, and character.

Educational Requirements:

2 graduate-level courses administered by The American College or from another accredited graduate program as part of a master’s or doctoral degree unless applicant has 15 or more years’ experience as an estate planner

Prerequisites/Experience:

Candidates must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Must be an attorney (JD), accountant (CPA), insurance professional or financial planner (CLU®, ChFC®, CFP® certificant) or trust officer (CTFA)
  • Must be in good standing with their professional organization, not be subject to disciplinary investigation, and provide three professional recommendations
  • Must be presently and significantly engaged in estate planning activities and have a minimum of 5 years’ experience in estate planning in one or more of the prerequisite professions
  • AEP® designees must maintain membership in NAEPC.

Ethics:

NAEPC’s Code of Ethics is intended to align with those of the gateway professional designations required prior to earning the AEP®. View the NAEPC Code at http://www.naepc.org/codeofethics.web

Examinations:

Examination standards are those used by the accredited academic institution providing the graduate courses and include proctored, closed-book exams.

Continuing Education:

30 hours every 24 months, including 15 hours in estate planning. Recertification required annually.

Enforcement:

Designation may be moved to “inactive” status if designee is found not to be in compliance with recertification requirements. The NAEPC Board determines annually the percentage of designation holders to be audited.

Accreditation:

Courses to fulfill AEP®’s educational requirements are at a graduate level and must be taken through an accredited academic institution.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

Complaint procedure and form available online at http://www.naepc.org/aep_complaint.web

Issuing Institution:

The National Association of Estate Planners & Councils awards the AEP®. NAEPC encourages programs to increase recognition and acceptance of estate planning as a specialty.
NAEPC.org

CASL® (Chartered Advisor for Senior Living®)

Overview:

CASL® is a rigorous credential in the senior and retirement planning space, with curriculum that covers wealth accumulation, income distribution, and estate planning strategies for those preparing for or in retirement. Advisors taking this program commit between 250 and 300 hours of study and take about 18 months to complete the designation.

Educational Requirements:

Requires five college-level courses: Understanding the Older Client; Health and Long-Term Care Financing for Seniors; Financial Decisions for Retirement; Investments; and Fundamentals of Estate Planning.

Prerequisites/Experience:

Requires three-years of full-time, relevant business experience.

Ethics:

Must adhere to The American College’s Code of Ethics, which includes the following professional pledge: “I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

Examinations:

Requires five closed-book, course-specific, two-hour proctored exams.

Continuing Education:

15 hours of continuing education every two years, with at least 10 of these hours in course work directly related to the material required to obtain the CASL® designation.

Enforcement:

Designation may be removed for unethical conduct through the certification committee of The American College’s Board of Trustees. There are special requirements for use of “senior” or “retirement” designations in a number of states, and CASL® is approved for use in every jurisdiction.

Accreditation:

The American College has the highest level of educational accreditation—regional accreditation—through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

File a Complaint about a Designee:

You may file a complaint in writing to: The Registrar; The American College; 270 S. Bryn Mawr Ave; Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010 or by emailing Registrar@TheAmericanCollege.edu.

Issuing Institution:

The American College, an accredited non-profit educational institution with an 84-year heritage, confers the CASL®. The College has a full-time faculty of industry experts andis the leading educator of financial professionals in the United States.
View the brochure
TheAmericanCollege.edu/CASL



Note: The American College is providing this information as a public service. It is correct to the best of our knowledge, but we neither guarantee its accuracy nor endorse any credentials for which we are not responsible as a credentialing organization.

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