What is a CFP®?

The CFP® marks represent a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER designation.  An individual who has earned these marks has met the education, examination, experience and ethics standards established by the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS  Board of Standards (CFP® Board); Therefore, a financial planner who has earned the CFP® marks should be distinguished from a financial planner who has not.  Consumers need to be aware that there is nothing preventing a person from declaring themselves a "Financial Planner," and its therefore incumbent upon the consumer to differentiate between a planner who has earned the marks and one who hasn't.

Certified Financial Planner Logo


If a financial planner has earned the right to use the CFP® marks, this means that he or she has met the following requirements:




There are three ways to meet the CFP® certification education requirement.

  1. Completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university whose curriculum is registered with the CFP® Board; or
  2. Submitting a transcript of previous financial planning- related course work to the CFP® Board for review and credit; or
  3. Showing the attainment of certain professional designations or academic degrees that cover subjects pertinent to the CFP® Boards financial planning curriculum.

Note: Applicants for CFP®  certification must have attained a bachelors degree (or higher) from an accredited college or university.


Candidates for the CFP® certification must pass a rigorous two-day, 10-hour CFP® Certification Examination administered by the CFP® Board that tests the ability to apply financial planning acumen to real life situations.  Topics include tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance. 


Candidates for CFP® certification must prove they have a minimum of 3 years of work-related experience in the financial planning process, prior to being authorized to use the CFP®  marks.


Certified Financial Planner  professionals are held to the highest of standards; CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct developed by the CFP® Boards Code of Ethics.  The CFP® Boards Code of Ethics requires financial planners, authorized to use the CFP® designation to adhere and uphold the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism, and diligence.  Candidates for CFP® certification have their backgrounds checked by the CFP® Board, and must also disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their professional or business conduct.  For example, if a CFP® professional declares bankruptcy or receives a DUI (driving under the influence), this must be disclosed to the CFP® Board and the professional could face disciplinary action or suspension of the right to use the CFP® mark.  Additionally, once certified, CFP® practitioners must fulfill a biennial continuing educational requirement to stay up-to-date on planning strategies and financial trends affecting their clients.

To determine if your financial planner is a CFP®, and in good standing, please click the following link and search for your financial planner: