Financial advisors with some experience in their field often pursue ChFC to broaden and deepen their practice, as the courses touch on many modern financial planning topics.
According to the American College of Financial Services, more than 40,000 people have earned the designation. Here’s how to get a ChFC and what it takes to receive certification.
- What is the ChFC designation?
- Educational requirements for the ChFC designation.
- Which Professionals Should Sue ChFC Trademarks?
- What types of jobs do ChFC certified people hold?
What is the ChFC designation?
ChFC distinguishes financial advisors and professionals who have met education and experience requirements and abide by a code of ethics from other financial professionals, says Ross Riskin, director of certified financial planning and education programs at ChFC the American College of Financial Services.
“ChFCs are well versed in all areas of financial planning, and most are able to provide comprehensive financial planning services or more specialized services, depending on the needs of each individual or family,” Riskin said.
Other experts agree. “The client will have more confidence in the advisor who understands their specific situation and can provide answers to their problems,” says Steve Azoury, ChFC, financial advisor and owner of Azoury Financial. “It can separate the consultant from the ‘typical salesperson’ who is only interested in promoting products, whether or not it is in the best interest of the client.”
Academic Requirements for the ChFC Designation
The college-level curriculum covers eight core courses, including investment planning, insurance planning, estate planning, tax planning, retirement planning, and ethics. Additionally, individuals study contemporary planning applications, such as behavioral finance and special needs planning, among other topics, says Riskin.
The final course includes an exam and answers to financial planning case studies. To receive the ChFC designation, students must pass a 100-question multiple-choice exam. It can take 18-20 months to complete the entire program, and there are continuing education requirements every two years to maintain certification.
Although a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university isn’t required to take the courses, many people who take the courses are already working as financial planners, Riskin adds.
Riskin says the ChFC designation program can be an alternative for counselors who haven’t been in a traditional higher education setting for a while, or for those struggling with test anxiety. Unlike the Certified Financial Planner designation, another popular brand, “there is no high-stakes cumulative exam at the end of the program that tests every piece of content covered throughout an educational program eight-course college level,” he says.
Although there is no lengthy final exam like with the CFP designation, the courses are strenuous, the sources say. “It was very difficult,” says Azoury. “The classes are challenging and the final course is a combination of the whole program.”
Which professionals should pursue ChFC marks?
Riskin says ChFCs can be generalist financial planners who provide advice in typical financial areas, such as investment management, insurance planning or education funding. Due to the in-depth study of modern financial topics included in the course, other ChFC-branded advisors may focus on niche services or work with specific types of clients, such as families with special needs, divorced people, blended families or small business owners. .
“A ChFC is able to bring a fresh and objective perspective to the table of individuals and families to help them develop and implement an action plan to achieve their short, medium and long term financial goals” , Riskin said.
Dan White, ChFC and Founder of Daniel A. White & Associates, says anyone wishing to pursue a career in the financial services industry, whether in retail with the public or wholesale with others counselors, can benefit from the completion of courses to obtain certification. This gives finance professionals a solid background in many aspects of financial planning, he says.
“It gives you more credibility, even with other advisers, such as (CPAs) and lawyers, etc. When they see this designation, they know you’ve done your homework and know to what are you talking about.” White said.
What types of jobs do ChFC certified people hold?
Riskin says ChFCs work in a variety of roles in the financial services industry and other tangentially related fields, such as accounting and law. Some job titles include financial planner, financial advisor, wealth manager, and investment consultant.
“The reality is that because the training provided through the ChFC designation program is so comprehensive, yet focused, advisors and finance professionals have more opportunities to work as a generalist in the area of planning. finance, often referred to as the ‘quarterback’ of the client’s advisory team, or they may choose to specialize in a particular area,” says Riskin.
White notes that people who have passed the ChFC course can register as an investment adviser representative with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority without having to take the Series 65 test.
ChFCs often work in insurance companies. Professionals in independent financial industry marketing organizations or broker supervisors may also carry the ChFC mark. “It just puts you on another level,” White says.