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CFP ® Certification

Not every financial advisor is certified. In fact, according to a May 2006 Wall Street Journal article, only an estimated 5% of financial advisors in the United States have met the stringent qualifications and continuing education requirements to earn the Certified Financial Planner™ designation.

To become a CFP ® professional a financial planner must be:

  • Trained , completing coursework—in investing, taxes, estate planning, retirement planning, and insurance—approved by the CFP ® Board at an accredited educational institution and having submitted transcripts from previous financial classes taken for review
  • Tested , having passed a difficult 10-hour CFP ® exam, which has a pass rate of only 52%
  • Transparent , having submitted to a background check and having disclosed any irregularities related to their professional conduct
  • Experienced , with at least 3 years’ financial planning experience
  • Ethical , agreeing to live by the CFP ® Board’s strict Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility that limits conflicts of interest and requires that the financial planner elevate clients’ needs above their own
  • Up-to-Date , completing at least 30 hours of continuing education during each 2-year CFP ® renewal period

A financial planner who has achieved the CFP ® standard of excellence has taken a huge step towards earning your trust.
Find out More About CFP ® Requirements »

"As it turns out, there are surprisingly efficient and economic ways to vet financial professionals and the outfits that employ them ... Many financial advisers hold the Certified Financial Planner™ credential issued by the CFP Board of Standards, a private agency in Washington, D.C., which also offers online searching." —William P. Barrett • • July 1, 2009

"To find an adviser with specific skills, look for certain credentials. A Certified Financial Planner™ certificant must complete courses in investments, taxation, estate planning, and insurance. They also must pass a two-day exam, have at least three years of experience, and comply with ethical standards that require them to put a client’s interests ahead of their own." —Anne Tergesen and Jane J. Kim • Wall Street Journal • July 29, 2009