Written By: Amber Ott

The financial planning and investment management business is filled with very capable and qualified people, and the Agili team is no exception.  The problem is, a lot of that expertise is hidden behind an alphabet soup of designations that are difficult to interpret.  Here, we break down what all those letters mean and why they are relevant to you.

CFP® – Certified Financial PlannerTM:  Holding this designation is meant to demonstrate to the public that the certificant has attained a competency level necessary to practice independently as a financial planner.  Certificants must pass an exam that covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits, retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.  The exam tests an individual’s ability to apply knowledge about those topics to real-life situations.

The CFP Board requires that certificants adhere to a strict code of ethics and complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.  The CFP® is the most well-known financial planning designation and is one of the most comprehensive available.  Agili has six CFP® certificants.

ChFC – Chartered Financial Consultant:  This is a financial planning designation awarded by the American College of Financial Services.  Designees must complete 27 credit hours of study and have passed an examination on the fundamentals of financial planning, including tax, insurance, investments and estate planning.  Designees must commit to 30 hours of continuing education every two years.  The ChFC is another of the most comprehensive certifications available in the financial planning industry.  Agili has one ChFC.

CFA – Chartered Financial Analyst:  Earning the CFA charter demonstrates mastery of many of the advanced skills needed for investment analysis and decision making in today’s quickly-evolving global financial industry.  The three levels of the CFA Program test a proficiency with a wide range of fundamental and advanced investment topics, including ethical and professional standards, fixed-income and equity analysis, alternative and derivative investments, economics, financial reporting standards, portfolio management, and wealth planning.  Charterholders area held to a very strict code of ethics.  Agili has two CFA charterholders.

CPA – Certified Public Accountant:  In the United States, the CPA is a license to provide accounting services to the public, and licenses are awarded on a state-by-state basis.  CPAs can also operate in the private sector, often in finance positions or as chief financial officers (CFO).  The skills one utilizes as a CPA are often applied to businesses or in the preparation of tax returns for individuals but can also be extremely helpful in reviewing the complex financial circumstances of certain individuals, which helps us serve you better as Your Personal CFO.  CPAs are required to complete continuing education, the specifics of which vary by state, to maintain their license.  Agili has four CPAs.

CRPS® – Chartered Retirement Plans SpecialistSM:  This is a graduate-level curriculum that focuses solely on retirement planning.  The program teaches students how to design, install and administer retirement plans for businesses.  Students gain knowledge to recommend implementation techniques that can be executed into well-structured, company-appropriate retirement plans.  Designees must adhere to a Standard of Professional Conduct and must complete 16 hours of continuing education in the area of retirement planning every two years.  Agili has one CRPS.

FPQPTM – Financial Paraplanner Qualified ProfessionalTM:  This is an introductory financial planning professional designation offered by the College for Financial Planning.  The program covers multiple facets of financial planning with a focus on practical application, which is ideal for team members in support roles or those who initially have little or no prior financial planning experience.  Designees must adhere to a Standard of Professional Conduct and must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years.  Agili has three FPQPTM designees, one of whom has gone on to receive the CFP® designation as well.

There you have it.  You got that all, right?  In all seriousness, we know this can be a lot to remember, so just know this – at Agili our team cares about you and your financial life more than anything else and we’re qualified to take care of you!