Broker Check
Do Credentials Matter?

Do Credentials Matter?

August 09, 2023

Designations demonstrate that financial advisors have met educational requirements, passed exams, and adhered to ethical standards. However, they can be confusing and possibly even misleading. We believe it's essential to understand the qualifications of your financial advisor to ensure they align with your specific financial goals and needs. 

Common designations include:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP): A CFP is a widely recognized and comprehensive certification. Advisors with this designation have undergone rigorous training and examination covering various aspects of financial planning, including investments, retirement planning, tax strategies, estate planning, and more. 
  • Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP): An RICP is a professional designation for financial advisors specializing in retirement income planning. Individuals who obtain the RICP designation have undergone specialized training and demonstrated proficiency and knowledge in areas such as retirement income sources, investment strategies, tax considerations, and estate planning. They are equipped to help individuals and couples develop comprehensive retirement income plans to ensure financial security throughout their retirement years. 
  • An Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF): An AIF is a professional designation that signifies mastery in the area of fiduciary responsibility and investment management. Individuals who hold this designation have completed a specialized training program and have demonstrated knowledge and proficiency in applying fiduciary standards of care in investment decision-making. 

A fiduciary is someone who is legally and ethically obligated to act in the best interests of their clients or beneficiaries. An AIF is trained to understand and fulfill these fiduciary duties when providing investment advice or managing investment portfolios. They are knowledgeable about investment principles, risk management, and the importance of putting their clients' interests first. 

By obtaining the AIF designation, individuals demonstrate their commitment to upholding fiduciary standards and delivering responsible and trustworthy investment advice. It helps clients identify professionals who have undergone specific training and possess a deeper understanding of fiduciary responsibilities in the investment industry. 

  • A Certified Pension Consultant (CPC): A CPC designation is a professional credential awarded to individuals who have demonstrated experience in various aspects of retirement planning and pension administration. CPCs are typically well-versed in areas such as qualified retirement plans, pension laws, regulations, and plan design. This designation signifies a high level of knowledge and competency in advising clients or employers on pension-related matters. 
  • Certified Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS):  A CRPS designation is a professional credential that signifies deep knowledge in the field of retirement planning and administration. Individuals with this designation have typically completed specialized training and demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of various retirement plans, including 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement vehicles. CRPS designees are equipped to provide advice and guidance to clients or employers regarding retirement planning strategies, investment options, and regulatory compliance.  
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC):  A Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation is a professional credential that indicates a high level of knowledge in various areas of financial planning. Individuals with a ChFC designation have completed rigorous education and training in subjects such as retirement planning, estate planning, insurance, investments, and taxation. ChFC designees are equipped to provide comprehensive financial advice and solutions to clients, helping them achieve their long-term financial goals and navigate complex financial situations.
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU): A Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation is a professional credential that demonstrates experience in the field of life insurance and estate planning. Individuals with a CLU designation have undergone specialized training and education in areas such as insurance law, risk management, tax implications, and estate planning strategies. CLU designees are equipped to provide comprehensive advice to clients on life insurance needs, estate preservation, and wealth transfer. This designation signifies a high level of knowledge and competency in helping clients navigate complex financial and insurance-related matters.  

At Accel Wealth Management, we are committed to the ongoing development of our team in order to provide the best possible outcomes for our clients.