What is a Certified Financial Planner® professional?

It is important to find a qualified financial advisor that works well with you, though it can be a difficult process because there are no standardized education, experience, or ethics requirements for all advisors that are mandated by law.

CFP: A Higher Standard in Education and Ethics

This is the reason why the Certified Financial Planner® Board of Standards, for CFP® Board, was established in 1985. It was and still is today an independent, non-profit organization that upholds a higher standard for education and ethics among those financial advisors who earn and use the CFP® certification.

Today, the CFP® Board has over 89,000 Certified Financial Planners® professionals, or CFP® professionals, in the United States.[1] The reason why only 1 out of 5 financial advisors in the U.S. have a CFP®[2] certification is because all CFP® certificants must pass  rigorous requirements before they can earn and use this designation. These stipulations include the following:

  • Education: A CFP® professional must hold at least a bachelor’s degree and complete financial planning coursework through a CFP® Board-registered program, which on average takes 12-18 months to complete[3].
  • Exam: All candidates for the CFP® must pass a certification exam. The CFP® exam is a 170-question, six-hour exam. This exam is not an automatic rubber stamp — only 67% of first-time test takers passed the exam in 2019[4].
  • Experience: A CFP® professional must complete 6,000 hours of professional financial planning experience, or 4,000 hours of apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements[5].

Ethics: The CFP® Board conducts background checks on its members, and requires them to sign an Ethics Declaration, which certifies that they will adhere to its high ethical






  • standards and act as a fiduciary to their clients (click here to learn more about the definition of a “fiduciary”).

What Can a CFP® Professional Do for Me?

CFP® professionals are well versed across all core tenets of financial planning because they must study a curriculum in the following areas[1]:

  • Investment Planning
  • Retirement Planning
  • Tax Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Insurance Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Ethics and Regulations

CFP® professionals must become sufficiently proficient in all these areas to pass the CFP® exam. That said, many CFP® professionals will also specialize and differentiate themselves in one or more of these areas, and they may also build their practice based on client type (for example, small business owners, retirees, married couples, etc.).

For all the reasons cited above, it is not only a good idea to make sure your financial advisor is a CFP® professionals but also to match up his or her areas of expertise with your needs.

About Us: All financial advisors at Modera Wealth Management have a CFP® designation or are working toward it. You can rest assured that a CFP® professional will always strive to lead your assigned Modera team of financial professionals. Our Modera team of CFP® professionals also includes a variety of specialists who are versed in many different personal and professional needs.

Modera is proudly a fee-only and independently owned financial planning firm that acts as a fiduciary for our clients. We have built our organization to put our clients’ interests first.

Call Modera and our Atlanta financial advisors to learn more and set up an initial meeting with our team.

Modera Wealth Management, LLC (“ Modera” ) is an SEC-registered investment adviser with places of business in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Modera may only transact business in those states in which it is registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration requirements. SEC registration does not imply any level of skill or training.  For information pertaining to our registration status, fees and services, please contact us or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure web site ( to obtain a copy of our disclosure statement set forth in Form ADV Part 2A. Please read the disclosure statement carefully before you invest or send money. __

Related Articles

Back to top button