Accreditations

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®)

The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® certification is a voluntary certification; no federal or state law or regulation requires financial planners to hold CFP® certification. It is recognized in the United States and a number of other countries for its (1) high standard of professional education; (2) stringent code of conduct and standards of practice; and (3) ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients. Currently, more than 67,000 individuals have obtained CFP® certification in the United States.

To attain the right to use the CFP® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:

  • Education – Complete an advanced college-level course of study addressing the financial planning subject areas that CFP Board’s studies have determined as necessary for the competent and professional delivery of financial planning services, and attain a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university (or its equivalent from a foreign university). CFP Board’s financial planning subject areas include insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning
  • Examination – Pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification The examination, administered in 10 hours over a two-day period, includes case studies and client scenarios designed to test one’s ability to correctly diagnose financial planning issues and apply one’s knowledge of financial planning to real world circumstances
  • Experience – Complete at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience (or the equivalent, measured as 2,000 hours per year) 
  • Ethics – Agree to be bound by CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, a set of documents outlining the ethical and practice standards for CFP®

Individuals who become certified must complete the following ongoing education and ethics requirements in order to maintain the right to continue to use the CFP® marks:

  • Continuing Education – Complete 30 hours of continuing education hours every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and other parts of the Standards of Professional Conduct, to maintain competence and keep up with developments in the financial planning field
  • Ethics – Renew an agreement to be bound by the Standards of Professional Conduct. The Standards prominently require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services at a fiduciary standard of This means CFP® professionals must provide financial planning services in the best interests of their clients.

CFP® professionals who fail to comply with the above standards and requirements may be subject to CFP Board’s enforcement process, which could result in suspension or permanent revocation of certification.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a title given to qualified accountants in the United States who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional stated education and experience requirements for the certification.

The continuing education requirement for certified public accountants and public accountants holding the Ohio permit is one hundred twenty credits for each triennial reporting period. The triennial reporting period begins on January first and ends on December thirty-first three years later.

The continuing education requirement for new certified public accountants holding the Ohio permit is forty credits. The two-year reporting period begins on January first of the year in which the new certified public accountant obtains the CPA certificate, and ends on December thirty-first of the year following the year in which the new certified public accountant obtains the CPA certificate.

Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA)

The Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) credential is offered through the CFA Institute, a global association of investment management professionals. The CFA program focuses on ethical and professional standards, securities analysis and valuation, international financial statement analysis, quantitative methods, economics, corporate finance, portfolio management, wealth management, and portfolio analysis.

Prerequisites for the program are an undergraduate degree or a combination of college and full-time work experience totaling at least four years. Candidates must pass three six-hour exams, have four years of work experience in the investment decision making process, join the CFA Institute as a regular member, and agree to abide by the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics. Continuing education is not required, although the Institute recommends 20 hours of annual voluntary continuing education.

Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®)

The AIF designation certifies that the recipient has specialized knowledge of fiduciary standards of care and their application to the investment management process. To receive the AIF designation there are four requirements:

  1. Enroll in and complete the AIF® Training
  2. Pass the AIF® Examination
  3. One of the following combinations of education, industry experience, and/or professional development is required to meet the experience requirement for the AIF® Relevant experience is that which has been accrued in a non-clerical role within the financial services (or a related) industry; a. Minimum of two (2) years of relevant experience; a bachelor’s degree (or higher); and a professional credential; b. Minimum of five (5) years of relevant experience; a bachelor’s degree (or higher) or a professional credential, or (c) Minimum of eight (8) years of relevant experience.
  4. Submit the application and dues

Included in the application are sections to attest to both the Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards. The Code of Ethics consists of the tenets of ethical conduct expected of all credential holders, while the Conducts Standards pertain to any past criminal and civil litigation, regulatory events, and personal and professional conduct.

AIF® designees must accrue a minimum of six hours of Continuing Education (“CE”) annually. The CE requirement is effective immediately upon attainment of the AIF® designation, and CE hours may be accrued from a variety of sources.

Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst® (AIFA®)

The AIFA® designation certifies that the recipient has advanced knowledge of fiduciary standards of care, their application to the investment management process, and procedures for assessing conformance by third parties to fiduciary standards.

There are five requirements for attaining the AIFA® credential.

  1. Attain the AIF® designation
  2. Enroll in and complete the AIFA® Training
  3. Pass the AIFA® Assessment
  4. A minimum of eight (8) years of relevant experience is required to attain the AIFA® credential. Relevant experience is that which has been accrued in a non-clerical role within the financial services (or a related) industry.
  5. Submit the application and dues. Included in the application are sections to attest to both the Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards. The Code of Ethics consists of the tenets of ethical conduct expected of all credential holders, while the Conducts Standards pertain to any past criminal and civil litigation, regulatory events, and personal and professional conduct. AIFA® designees are required to complete a minimum of ten hours of Continuing Education (“CE”) per reporting period. The CE requirement is effective immediately upon attainment of the AIFA® designation, and CE hours may be accrued from a variety of sources.

Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®)

The American College of Financial Services, a nonprofit educational institute, offers the Retirement Income Certified Professional® credential. The RICP® curriculum covers the retirement income process, strategies and solutions, sources of retirement income, and managing the retirement income plan.

Prerequisites include three years of professional experience. Candidates must complete three required courses, successfully pass three proctored exams, and agree to abide by The American College Code of Ethics. Fifteen hours of continuing education are required every two years.

Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist℠ (CRPS®)

The College for Financial Planning, an accredited institution of higher learning, offers the CRPS® designation. This designation focuses on retirement plan administration, including the design, installation, and maintenance of company retirement plans.

There are no prerequisites for the program. Individuals who hold this designation have completed the 10-module course of study, and then successfully passed a proctored exam. Designees must adhere to the College’s Standards of Professional Conduct, and complete sixteen hours of continuing education every 2 years.

Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ (FPQP®)

The College for Financial Planning, an accredited institution of higher learning, offers the Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ designation. This designation covers the financial planning process, the five disciplines of financial planning, general financial planning concepts, and terminology.

There are no prerequisites for the program. Individuals who hold this designation have completed the 10-module course of study, and then successfully passed a proctored exam. Designees must adhere to the College’s Standards of Professional Conduct, and complete sixteen hours of continuing education every 2 years.

Certified Kingdom Advisor® (CKA)

The Certified Kingdom Advisor® (CKA®) credential is offered through Kingdom Advisors, Inc., an organization that promotes the integration of biblical principles with financial planning.  Applicants must either hold an industry approved designation (CFP®, ChFC®, CPA, CPA/PFS, EA, CFA, CIMA®, AAMS, CLU®, JD) or have ten years of experience in the discipline in which applying for the Certified Kingdom Advisor® designation. These disciplines include insurance, investments, accounting, law, and financial planning.

All applicants must sign a “Statement of Faith,” and obtain a letter of reference from a member of their pastoral staff as well as provide two client references.  Designee’s must complete a university-based educational program and pass a proctored exam.

Annual renewal of the designation includes ten hours of continuing education and an active Kingdom Advisors membership.

Certified Health Savings Adviser (CHSA®)

The Certified Health Savings Adviser (CHSA®) credential is offered through Access Point HSA, an organization that connects advisers and financial service providers with Health Savings Account providers.  The training program consists of 4 modules of study related to the rules and regulations of health savings accounts as well as the current trends in employer-sponsored healthcare.  The training focuses on the benefits of health savings accounts in relation to healthcare financing and retirement planning.

All applicants must pass an exam, and are required to obtain thirty minutes of continuing education annually.


The Center for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX)