To attain the right to use the CFP® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:
CFP® professionals must develop their theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by CFP Board. Other options for satisfying the education component include submitting a transcript review or previous financial planning-related course work to CFP Board for review and credit, or showing the attainment of certain professional designations or academic degrees.
CFP® practitioners must pass a comprehensive CFP® Certification Examination that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. Based on regular research of what planners do, the exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits, retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.
CFP® professionals must have three years minimum experience in the financial planning process prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification marks. As a result, CFP® practitioners possess financial counseling skills in addition to financial planning knowledge.
CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility that sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. Each individual must disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their professional or business conduct.
CFP® practitioners are required to maintain technical competence and fulfill certain ethical obligations. Every two years, they must complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education to stay current with developments in the financial planning profession. Two of these hours are spent studying or discussing the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics or Practice Standards. All CFP® practitioners voluntarily disclose any public, civil, criminal or disciplinary actions that may have been taken against them during the previous two years as part of the renewal process.