Broker Check

Aren't All Financial Advisors the Same?

In a word, No!

Most people think all financial planners are “certified,” but this isn’t true. Just about anyone can use the title “financial planner.” Only those who have fulfilled CFP Board's rigorous requirements can call themselves a CFP® professional.

Be wary of people who call themselves financial planners or financial advisers but who appear more interested in pushing specific financial products at the expense of your real needs and goals. A genuine financial planner will always help you address your financial needs in the context of your unique financial picture and not propose off-the-shelf solutions.

Moreover, not every financial planner is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional. In fact, there are more than 800,000 financial advisors in the U.S., but less than 10 percent have a CFP® designation.

CFP® professionals have gone through rigorous education and testing in order to receive their certificate, and as CFP® practitioners they have an ethical duty to act in your interests first, not theirs.

The Difference: Education and Ethics

A CFP® professional is a financial advisor who has at least three years of professional experience and passed 10 college-level courses on subjects such as retirement planning, insurance planning, taxation and estate planning. Moreover, certified financial planners must pass a rigorous exam and meet ethical and continuing education requirements. 

You deserve a fiduciary standard of care.

Some advisors have an obligation to act in your interests and some do not.

Becoming a CFP® professional involves much more than doing well in school. “Ethics is another major component to being a Certified Financial Planner™ professional.  We are required to adhere to a fiduciary standard. Fiduciaries are bound by a code of ethics. They take oaths and their conduct is based on applying ethical principles. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards has a published code of ethics that includes seven principles including integrity and fairness. It states, “Integrity demands honesty and candor which must not be subordinated to personal gain an advantage.” And “Fairness is treating others in the same fashion that you would want to be treated.”