Boston Certified Financial Planners™ (Boston CFP®)
A Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional is accredited by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards as having demonstrated financial planning technical knowledge, experience, and adherence to a client-centered code of ethics.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) is a non-profit organization that fosters professional standards in personal financial planning through its setting and enforcement of the education, examination, experience, ethics, and other requirements for CFP® certification.
The mission of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards is “to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning.”
The “best financial advisor” is going to be different for each person. You need to find the best financial advisor for you and your unique situation (see “How to choose the right financial advisor”). A fee-only CFP® is the best financial planner for many because a fee-only CFP® is competent and unbiased by commissions for the sale of financial products.
The CFP® designation is one of many financial planner credentials, but it is widely thought of as the gold standard of the industry. This is because of the rigorous education, examination, experience, and ethics requirements for Certified Financial Planner™ certificants.
Certified Financial Planners™ develop theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering financial planning curriculum registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. To maintain certification, CFP®s must complete a minimum of 30 hours of financial planning continuing education every two years. Two of these hours must be spent studying the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility or Financial Planning Practice Standards. Certified Financial Planner™ continuing education requirements are among the strictest of all financial planner credentials and help CFP®s better serve clients and stay current with developments in the financial planning profession.
CFPs® must pass a two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life financial planning situations. The exam is based on a list of financial planning topics that reflect skills needed to perform comprehensive financial planning, as determined by periodic surveys of practicing CFP® certificants. The exam covers the general principles of financial planning, insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.
Individuals seeking to obtain CFP® certification must complete three years of financial planning work experience, including the supervision, direct support, teaching, or personal delivery of the personal financial planning process to a client. This ensures that CFP®s can apply their financial planning knowledge in real-world client situations.
As a final step to certification, CFP® practitioners must pass an ethics review and agree to abide by the CFP Board’s Financial Planning Practice Standards and a strict code of professional conduct, known as the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. The Code of Ethics states that CFP practitioners are to act with integrity, offering professional services that are objective and based on client needs.