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Top Financial Planning Credentials and Top Finance Certifications for Bankers and Investment Professionals

A financial analyst or financial planner typically prepares financial plans for his or her clients. The kinds of services financial planners offer can vary widely. Some financial planners assess every aspect of your financial life—including saving, investments, insurance, taxes, retirement, and estate planning—and help you develop a detailed strategy or financial plan for meeting all your financial goals. Other professionals call themselves financial planners, but they may only be able to recommend that you invest in a narrow range of products and sometimes products that aren’t securities.

Wealth Managers and Financial planners may come from many different educational and professional backgrounds. If you’re considering using a financial planner, be sure to ask about their background. If they have a credential, ask them what it means and what they had to do to earn it.  If the certification holder attended a nationally-accredited business school, that is the best method of certification. If they attended an ACBSP or ABA American Bar accredited program and took the proper exams and courses, then that would be the best type of accreditation.

Some financial planners have credentials like CWM Chartered Wealth Manager ® certification or AFA Accredited Financial Analyst ®. Find out what organization issued the credential, and then contact the organization to verify whether the professional you’re considering did, in fact, earn the credential and whether the professional remains in good standing with the organization. For a helpful list of various financial industry credentials (including the name of the issuing organization and any education or experience required to attain the credential), please read FINRA’s Understanding Investment Professional Designations.

If the professional you’re considering claims to be an MFP® certified, visit the website of the Global Board of Standards at www.GAFM.com The Board is an accredited regulatory body that licenses financial planners as MFP® professionals.  You can also call the Board at www.GAFM.org   The Master Financial Planner ®  International Board of Standards also has brochures and information about their accreditation and ISO certifications.

Quick Facts: Personal Financial Advisors from the BLS.gov
2018 Median Pay $88,890 per year
$42.73 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Long-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2018 271,700
Job Outlook, 2018-28 7% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2018-28 19,100

 

Here are the Top Financial qualifications that are backed by accredited education:

 

  1. MFP Master Financial Planner ® awarded by the International Board of Standards which is a TUV Accredited and  ISO Certified 9001 and EU Accredited Body.   Anyone with a business school degree from an ACBSP or AACSB accredited school can apply for MFP if they have 5 or more courses in investments, finance, tax or economics with a GPA of 3.0 www.GAFM.org    Accreditation:  TUV Accredited and ISO Certified 29990 and ISO Certified 9001.  This body is a Charter Member of the CHEA quality standards.
  2. CWM Chartered Wealth Manager ®  awarded by the International Board of Standards which is a TUV Accredited and  ISO Certified 29990  and EU Accredited Body.    www.GAFM.com  This certification can be obtained by attending an ACBSP or AACSB Business School and taking the exams and courses or by taking the required courses at an accredited law school.  Accreditation:  TUV Accredited and ISO Certified 29990 and ISO Certified 9001. This body is a Charter Member of the CHEA quality standards.
  3. RIA Registered Investment Advisor license:  If you work in a brokerage firm, the investment division of a bank or in an insurance company, you may be required to hold a Series 7 Stock Broker license or a Series 65 or 66 so that you can charge a fee for financial planning.
  4. CRA Certified Risk Analyst ®  awarded by the GAFM International Board of Standards which is a TUV Accredited and  ISO Certified 9001 and EU Accredited Body.  www.FinancialAnalyst.org  This certification can be obtained by attending an ACBSP or AACSB Business School and taking the exams and courses or by taking the required courses at an accredited law school.  Accreditation:  TUV Accredited and ISO Certified 29990 and ISO Certified 9001. This body is a Charter Member of the CHEA quality standards.
  5. Attorney or Law License – State License – Typically somebody who has experience in Tax, Retirement Law, or Estate Planning.  www.americanbar.org
  6. Chartered Financial Manager (ChFM) awarded by the Global Academy, LA, USA.  www.FinancialCertified.com  This certification can be obtained by attending an ACBSP or AACSB Business School and taking the exams and courses or by taking the required courses at an accredited law school.  Accreditation:  TUV Accredited and ISO Certified 29990 and ISO Certified 9001. Recognized by the Arab Academy of the Arab League.  This body is a Charter Member of the CHEA quality standards.
  7. CPA Certified Public Accountant – Regulated by State Government  or AICPA https://nasba.org/licensure/gettingacpalicense/
  8. AFA Accredited Financial Analyst ®  awarded by the International Board of Standards which is a TUV Accredited and  ISO Certified 9001 and EU Accredited Body.   www.FinancialAnalyst.org  This certification can be obtained by attending an ACBSP or AACSB Business School and taking the exams and courses or by taking the required courses at an accredited law school.  Accreditation:  TUV Accredited and ISO Certified 29990 and ISO Certified 9001. This body is a Charter Member of the CHEA quality standards.
  9. Certified Financial Planner ®  awarded by the CFP Board.  No GPA requirements. www.cfp.com  Must pass the assessment.
  10. AMA Accredited Management Accountant ®  awarded by the GAFM International Board of Standards which is a TUV Accredited and  ISO Certified 9001 and EU Accredited Body.   www.GAFM.org  This certification can be obtained by attending an ACBSP or AACSB Business School and taking the exams and courses or by taking the required courses at an accredited law school.  Accreditation:  TUV Accredited and ISO Certified 29990 and ISO Certified 9001. This body is a Charter Member of the CHEA quality standards.

When hiring a financial planner, you should know exactly what services you need, what services the planner can deliver, and any limitations on what he or she can recommend. In addition, you should understand what services you’re paying for, how much those services cost, and how the planner gets paid. See a list of Top Financial Designations  Financial planners charge for their services in different ways: some charge either a fixed fee or an hourly fee for the time it takes to develop a financial plan, but don’t sell investment products; some are paid by commissions on the products they sell; and others use a combination of fees and commissions.

It is always best to seek certification from an accredited body that has either TUV or ISO certification.  Also, check if your certification body is part of the CHEA quality standards protocols.

 

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