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What Do the Letters After a Financial Adviser's Name Really Mean?

November 15, 2018 Consumer Reports

Meet the Fiduciaries

Experts in consumer protection in the personal-finance field advise consumers to focus on designations that require financial professionals to be fiduciaries….

To address this, the CFP Board of Standards has revised its ethical code and standard of conduct to require a CFP[® professional] to follow a fiduciary standard for all financial advice, as of October 2019.

Bottom line for consumers: Work with professionals who will act in your best interest, and choose someone whose specific training and expertise aligns with your needs.

Below is a list of financial services you may be seeking and the types of advisers best suited to help. And it's not just because they pledge to work in your best interest. They also must complete significant training, testing, and continuing education, and meet other qualifications aimed at ensuring clients the best and most appropriate advice.

What Kind of Advice Do You Need?

If you want general planning advice: CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER[™ professionals] can give guidance on investing, saving for retirement, drawing down savings in retirement, buying long-term-care insurance, financing college, estate planning, getting the right type of mortgage, and other personal-finance issues. CFP[® professionals] must have a bachelor’s degree—or higher—from an accredited college or university, and three years of full-time personal financial planning experience or the equivalent in part-time experience (2,000 hours is considered one full-time year). They must take a certifying exam. They must take 30 hours of continuing education every two years. They must adhere to a code of ethics and standards of conduct. 

Read more at Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports
By Tobie Stanger
November 15, 2018