We're proud of our Roundtable™ team's commitment to excellence. One of the many ways our advisors and specialists demonstrate their expertise is through special certification programs. To help demystify what these credentials mean, we've explained several of these accolades below.
Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS) professionals are uniquely qualified to identify opportunities in investments as well as insurance, tax, retirement and estate planning, and make recommendations based on all aspects of a client's total financial picture. Requirements include passing a final exam and signing a code of ethics commitment an declaration.
Individuals who hold the Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor (ADPA)® designation have completed a course of study encompassing wealth transfers, federal taxation, retirement planning, and planning for financial and medical end-of-life needs for domestic partners. Additionally, individuals must pass an end-of-course examination that tests their ability to synthesize complex concepts and apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations.
The Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) designation is a graduate level specialization in estate planning, obtained in addition to already recognized professional credentials within the various disciplines of estate planning. It is awarded by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) to estate planning professionals who meet stringent requirements of experience, knowledge, education professional reputation and character.
The Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF)® designation is awarded to professionals who have demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of fiduciary practices. AIF® designees must complete training and annual continuing professional education requirements and attest to a code of ethics.
Individuals who hold the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA)® designation have completed a course of study encompassing wealth strategies, equity-based compensation plans, tax reduction alternatives, and asset protection alternatives. Additionally, individuals must pass an end-of-course examination that tests their ability to synthesize complex concepts and apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations.
The Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) is awarded to advisors who have learned the knowledge and tools needed to help clients articulate and advance their highest aspirations for self, family, and society. CAP® holders become members of a growing network of top planners who are working to make our towns and cities better places to live for generations to come.
The Chartered Advisor for Senior Living is for individuals who help clients work towards financial security through wealth management, wealth preservation and wealth transfer planning. The designation is recognized by the American College of Financial Services but is no longer offered to new students.
Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) is the oldest and most respected professional designation in the employee benefits and compensation field. Requirements include completion of eight courses.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation signifies a professional with an extensive economic and investing background and the ability to perform high-level analyses. CFAs often apply their rigorous training to roles as security analysts, portfolio managers, or investment advisors. Requirements include passing tests in economics, accounting, security analysis, and money management, administered by the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of the Association for Investment Management and Research; acquiring at least three years of investment-related experience; and meeting certain standards of professional conduct.
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional designation is awarded to individuals who have met the requirements for education, examination, and experience established by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP® Board). To attain the right to use the certification marks "CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional" and "CFP® professional," individuals must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:
In addition, in order to maintain certification, individuals must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics.
The Certified Fund Specialist™ designation is awarded by the Institute of Business & Finance to financial professionals for their expanded knowledge of mutual funds and the mutual fund industry. The Certified Fund Specialist exam is one of the oldest certification designations in the mutual fund industry. In order to qualify, individuals must also have a bachelor’s degree or 2,000 hours of experience.
The Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) financial planning designation for the insurance industry is awarded by the American College to financial planners and others in the financial services industry with in-depth knowledge of the skills needed to perform comprehensive financial planning for their clients. ChFC designees must meet experience requirements; pass exams on tax, insurance, finance, and investing; and have at least three years of experience in the financial industry.
The Certification in Long-Term Care designation is held by those who have acquired the skills needed to assist clients with planning for their longevity and how it will affect their family in the future as well as the decisions that will need to be made.
The Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation is granted by the American College to individuals who have completed advanced courses and exams in several topics including insurance, investments, taxation, employee benefits, estate planning, accounting, management, and economics.
The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation is a license awarded to individuals in the United States who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional education and experience requirements. CPAs are not only required to pass a professional exam, but they must also meet continuing professional education (CPE) requirements on an annual basis to maintain their license. CPAs are certified to provide a broad range of financial advisory services for their clients including tax compliance and advisory, as well as estate and financial planning.
The Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC) designation is awarded to retirement professionals who complete a comprehensive program consisting of retirement planning, design, management and operations, investment management, compliance, and ethics. CRC candidates must also pass four examinations, have a minimum of two years' professional experience, and provide two professional references.
The Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ designation is awarded by the College for Financial Planning and given to those individuals who complete a study program and pass an exam specifically on retirement planning. The focus of the CRPC is client-centered problem solving, both pre and post retirement.
The Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist℠ is someone who creates, implements and maintains retirement plans for businesses. The designation mainly focuses on wholesale and business clients and is awarded by the College for Financial Planning. Applicants must pass a written exam in order to qualify.
Earning the Certified Senior Advisor designation requires that individuals pass an exam and uphold high ethical standards in the area of health and welfare of seniors. This is the leading certification for those specializing in serving older adults.
As part of the 1974 Employees Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Enrolled Actuary (EA) designation was created to certify that the funding of employer-sponsored retirement plans is adequate to protect the benefits of participating employees. An EA is licensed by the Joint Board of the Department of Treasury and the Department of Labor to perform a variety of actuarial tasks that are required for pension plans. In order to become licensed, an actuary must pass a series of rigorous exams, complete several years of responsible experience in the pension actuarial field, and be recommended for the designation by other enrolled actuaries in good standing.
The Financial Risk Manager designation is offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). Candidates must complete two exams and have at minimum two years’ experience in the field of financial risk. Individuals possessing the designation often work in fields like portfolio management, industry research, trading and risk consulting.
The Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) is the Society of Actuaries' highest designation, awarded to professionals who are recognized as experts in the modeling and management of financial risk. To attain the FSA designation, a professional must choose a specialty track (Finance/ERM, Investment, Individual Life & Annuities, Retirement Benefits, or Group & Health), complete e-learning courses and modules and other training, and pass a series of examinations.
The Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional® designation was developed by National Regulatory Services (NRS) and co-sponsored by the Investment Adviser Association. Individuals must participate in an instructor-led study program and pass a certifying exam in order to qualify. Participants are educated on the rules and regulations required for investment advisers as well as state and federal regulations.
The Juris Doctor (JD) degree is granted by law schools to those who complete a three-year course of study of the law. The doctor designation is reflective of the fact that this type and length of postgraduate academic work is the equivalent of a doctoral degree.
Individuals who hold the Master Planner Advanced Studies℠ designation have earned a Master of Science degree with a major in personal financial planning. The program covers personal financial planning and investment-related content. Individuals must complete all coursework and graduation requirements for the Master of Science degree.
The Master of Science in Financial Services is an accredited degree program that equips students with the skills necessary to analyze, plan and implement financial strategies.
The Personal Financial Specialist credential is available exclusively to CPAs who are specialists in the area of wealth management. The designation is supported by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants who only awards it to those with significant personal financial planning education and experience. Areas of study include estate planning, retirement planning, investing and insurance.
The Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) credential is awarded by the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) to retirement plan professionals who work primarily with 401(k) plans. QKA designees may have experience and training in a variety of financial disciplines, must have a minimum of two years' experience in retirement plan-related matters, and must complete an examination series.
The Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) designation signifies that an individual working in the traditional health insurance marketplace or in the managed care industry has successfully completed a rigorous three-course program and is qualified to advise clients on their health insurance needs. RHU designees must also meet specified experience requirements, maintain ethical standards, and agree to comply with both The American College's Code of Ethics and Procedures and applicable continuing education requirements.
Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) is a professional designation for experienced financial professionals who wish to become experts in retirement income planning. A Retirement Income Certified Professional helps retirees and near-retirees develop a plan for managing and using the assets they have accumulated for retirement in order to live within a realistic budget and not run out of money prematurely.