Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®)

Individuals with the CFP® designation have passed a demanding exam which covers all facets of financial planning, including: investments, individual and estate taxes, insurance, retirement planning, and estate planning. A CFP® must have completed college, and have at least three years of financial industry experience. They must also abide by a strict code of conduct and ethics.

Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®)

The ChFC® is a designation for individuals who have demonstrated their extensive knowledge of financial planning. The designation is administered by the American College of Financial Services. A ChFC® must meet experience requirements and pass exams covering finance and investing. They must have at least three years of experience in the financial industry, and have studied and passed an examination on the fundamentals of financial planning, including: income tax, insurance, investment and estate planning. Holders of this designation have demonstrated a well-rounded knowledge of financial planning.

Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist™ (CRPS®)

The CRPS® Program focuses on individuals who specialize in creating, implementing, and maintaining retirement plans for businesses through a case-study based, client-centered problem-solving approach. The study program covers types and characteristics of retirement plans, including IRAs, small business retirement plans, defined contribution plans and more.

Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)

A registered investment adviser (RIA) is a firm that is an investment adviser in the United States, registered as such with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state securities authorities. An RIA is defined by The Investment Advisers Act of 1940 as a "firm that, for compensation, is engaged in the act of providing advice, making recommendations, issuing reports or furnishing analyses on securities, either directly or through publications." An investment advisor has a fiduciary duty to his or her clients, which means that he or she has a fundamental obligation to provide suitable investment advice and to always act in the client’s best interest.

Registration of an investment advisor is not meant to denote any form of recommendation or endorsement by the SEC or state securities regulators. It simply means that the investment advisor has fulfilled all the requirements for registration as an investment advisor.

Financial Planning Association® (FPA®)

The FPA® is the premier resource for the public to find a financial planner who will deliver advice using an ethical, objective, client-centered approach. FPA members must be honest and unbiased with their clients, and they must provide financial advice that is in the client’s, not the advisor’s, best interest. The FPA also provides professional development and practice management support to CFPs and financial planning professionals.