Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®)

The Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) credential was introduced in 1982 as an alternative to the CFP® mark. This designation has the same core curriculum as the CFP® designation, plus two or three additional elective courses that focus on various areas of personal financial planning. The biggest difference is that it does not require candidates to pass a comprehensive board exam, as with the CFP®. Chartered Financial Consultant is a financial planning designation for the insurance industry awarded by the American College of Bryn Mawr. ChFC®'s 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.

The ChFC® [or other applicable mark] mark is the property of The American College, which reserves sole rights to its use, and is used by permission.

Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®)

The CLU® is widely considered to be the most respected insurance designation in the industry. This designation was created in 1927 by the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa. The CLU®; has traditionally been pursued by agents who wish to specialize in life insurance for business or estate-planning purposes. The current course curriculum for the CLU® includes five required courses plus three elective courses. The required courses include the following:

  • Fundamentals of insurance planning
  • Life insurance law
  • Individual life insurance
  • Estate planning
  • Planning for business owners

The three elective courses can be chosen from such subjects as the following:

  • Financial planning
  • Health insurance
  • Income taxation
  • Group benefits
  • Retirement planning
  • Investment planning

The CLU® [or other applicable mark] mark is the property of The American College, which reserves sole rights to its use, and is used by permission.


The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, CFP® and federally registered CFP® (with flame design) marks (collectively, the “CFP® marks”) are professional certification marks granted in the United States by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP® Board”). The CFP® certification is a voluntary certification; no federal or state law or regulation requires financial planners to hold CFP® certification. It is recognized in the United States and a number of other countries for its (1) high standard of professional education; (2) stringent code of conduct and standards of practice; and (3) ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients. Currently, more than 62,000 individuals have obtained CFP® certification in the United States.

To attain the right to use the CFP® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:

• Education – Complete an advanced college-level course of study addressing the financial planning subject areas that CFP® Board’s studies have determined as necessary for the competent and professional delivery of financial planning services, and attain a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university (or
its equivalent from a foreign university). CFP® Board’s financial planning subject areas include insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning;

• Examination – Pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Examination. The examination, administered in 10 hours over a two-day period, includes case studies and client scenarios designed to test one’s ability to correctly diagnose financial planning issues and apply one’s knowledge of financial planning to real-world circumstances;

• Experience – Complete at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience (or the equivalent, measured as 2,000 hours per year); and

• Ethics – Agree to be bound by CFP® Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, a set of documents outlining the ethical and practice standards for CFP® professionals. Individuals who become certified must complete the following ongoing education and ethics requirements in order to maintain the right to continue to use the CFP® marks:

• Continuing Education – Complete 30 hours of continuing education hours every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and other parts of the Standards of Professional Conduct, to maintain competence and keep up with developments in the financial planning field; and

• Ethics – Renew an agreement to be bound by the Standards of Professional Conduct. The Standards prominently require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services at a fiduciary standard of care. This means CFP® professionals must provide financial planning services in the best interests of their clients. CFP® professionals who fail to comply with the above standards and requirements may be subject to the CFP® Board’s enforcement process, which could result in suspension or permanent revocation of their CFP® certification. (for more information regarding the CFP® designation:

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®)

The CIMA® certification signifies that an individual has met initial and ongoing experience, ethical, education, and examination requirements for investment management consulting, including advanced investment management theory and application. Prerequisites for the CIMA® certification are three years of financial services experience and an acceptable regulatory history. To obtain the CIMA® certification, candidates must pass an online Qualification Examination, successfully complete a one-week classroom education program provided by a Registered Education Provider at an AACSB accredited university business school, and pass an online Certification Examination. CIMA® designees are required to adhere to IMCA’s Code of Professional Responsibility, Standards of Practice, and Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks. CIMA® designees must report 40 hours of continuing education credits, including two ethics hours, every two years to maintain the certification. The designation is administered through Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA).

Investments & Wealth Institute™ (The Institute) is the owner of the certification marks "CIMA," and "Certified Investment Management Analyst." Use of CIMA, and/or Certified Investment Management Analyst signifies that the user has successfully completed The Institute's initial and ongoing credentialing requirements for investment management professionals. [and/or requirements for "wealth advisors" and/or "investment strategists" and/or "investment management consultants" or in case of multiple certifications, "requirements for certification."]

Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®)

Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) The CFA® is an international qualification for finance and investment professionals, particularly in the fields of investment management and financial analysis of stocks, bonds, and their derivative assets.  To become a CFA® Charterholder, candidates must pass each of three six-hour exams, possess a bachelor's degree (or equivalent, as assessed by CFA® institute), and have 48 months of qualified, professional work experience.  CFA® charterholders are also obligated to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards governing their professional conduct.  The required curriculum includes the following topics:

  • Ethical and Professional Standards
  • Quantitative Methods (such as the time value of money, and statistical inference)
  • Economics
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Corporate Finance
  • Analysis of Investments (stocks, bonds, derivatives, venture capital, real estate, etc.)
  • Portfolio Management and Analysis (asset allocation, portfolio risk, performance measurement, etc.)

The curriculum for the CFA® program is based on a Candidate Body of Knowledge established by the CFA® Institute.  From 1963 (when the CFA® designation was first awarded) to 2006, approximately 78,000 people from at least 126 different countries have been awarded the right to use the CFA® designation.

CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are registered trademarks owned by CFA Institute.

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®)

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) The CDFA® is a program to prepare a candidate as an expert on the financial aspects of divorce. A candidate must have a Bachelor's degree with three years of experience or five years if they do not have the degree. Candidates are required to pass an exam from the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA). A CDFA® is an expert in providing advice on:

  • Valuing assets and debts
  • Valuing the marital home
  • Dividing retirement and pension accounts
  • The amount and duration of alimony
  • Tax implications of alimony and property division
  • Setting up a budget for life after divorce

Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS)

Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) The Master of Science in Financial Services is a degree program designed to advance the careers of a wide range of planning professionals, including financial planners, life insurance specialists, trust officers, and investment consultants.  The MSFS degree requires the completion of 36 course credits (6 credits from the residency and 30 credits from the remaining required and elective courses.)  Course topics include:

  • Financial Planning
  • Investments
  • Real Estate
  • Portfolio Management
  • Insurance
  • Retirement Plans & Employee Benefits

Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR®)

Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR®) The SPHR® certification is divided into six functional areas:

  • Strategic Management
  • Workforce Planning and Employment
  • Human Resource Development
  • Total Rewards
  • Employee and Labor Relations
  • Risk Management


The SHRM-CP® certification is for individuals that perform general HR/HR-related duties; or for those pursuing a career in Human Resource Management.

Fellow, Life Management Institute® (FLMI®)

Fellow, Life Management Institute® (FLMI®) Since 1932, the FLMI® Program has been the standard of excellence in the insurance and financial services industry.  Professional management designation earned by passing 10 national examinations on life and health insurance subjects, including insurance, finance, marketing, law, information systems, accounting, management, and employee benefits. Examinations and course materials are prepared and administered by the Life Office Management Association. Those receiving designations are recognized by the industry as professionals with advanced expertise in the operations, products, and management of financial service firms as well as life and health insurance companies.  Areas of proficiency include, but are not limited to:

  • Life insurance and annuity products and how these products meet customer needs
  • Functions and interrelationships of each major operational area and how they contribute to the financial success of an organization
  • Insurance administration for individual and group life and health coverage
  • Features and principles of the legal environment in which financial services companies around the world operate
  • Marketing principles and the functions of marketing
  • Financial and managerial accounting in life insurance companies
  • Financial services environment, investment principles, and institutional investing
  • Product design and capital management issues affecting profitability and solvency for financial services providers

Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor® (CPFA®)

A Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor® is a financial professional that demonstrates expertise and experience working with retirement plans. CPFA® professionals can help their clients (plan fiduciaries) objectively review their financial status, identify potential concerns, and recommend the appropriate solutions for addressing these retirement matters. A plan fiduciary is a plan sponsor (business owner), plan administrator, or plan trustee. CPFA® professionals assist their clients in the selection and evaluation of the plan’s service providers (recordkeepers and third-party administrators) and investment options for plan participants.