Congratulations to Glen D. Smith on being named one of Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors for 2019! This is a prestigious recognition for standout wealth advisors who top the list in each state. Advisors are judged on factors such as revenue trends, assets under management, compliance records, industry experience and best practices in their approach to working with clients. Glen D. Smith prides himself on offering the personalized service that his clients deserve. This ranking is testament to Glen’s unwavering commitment to his clients’ financial wellbeing.
In the first part of the “Trust, but verify” series, I explained how to complete a deep-dive background check using the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency’s BrokerCheck. This installment will guide you through the certification process to help you understand what those acronyms after a financial advisor’s name represent and how to use them as due diligence tools.
CFP. CRPC. What do they mean and what role do they play in your due diligence phase of selecting a financial advisor?
This organization’s mission is to benefit the public by granting the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®) certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning.
So, while any professional can hang out a shingle as a “financial planner,” only CFP® certified professionals have completed extensive training, are held to rigorous ethical standards, and are experienced professionals.
The FPA recommends five fundamentals, most of which can be verified on FINRA’s BrokerCheck, to guide your due diligence.
- Is a financial planner a CFP® Professional? The CFP® designation demonstrates an ongoing commitment to developing the knowledge and experience to provide financial planning services.
- What areas of expertise should your financial planner have? Depending on your goals, specializations such as retirement planning, tax, estate planning, education funding, insurance, cash flow, and debt management experience are invaluable.
- Does your financial planner have a specific area of specialty? Financial planners who state defined areas of specialization must be able to document any additional education and certifications in those areas.
- How long has a financial planner provided financial planning? There is an art and science to financial planning that often takes time to master. Time also allows the financial planner to refine the relational skills needed.
- How will a financial planner approach your specific situation? What process does the financial planner take in doing financial planning? What systems do they have in place and how will the plan be developed, presented and implemented?
Following the FPA template will help you distinguish financial advisors—the most common financial services provider—from certified financial planners. The difference: advice is transactional; client-centric, fiduciary-based planning has the potential to transform your life.
College for Financial Planning[BE1] ® (CFFP®)
CFFP is the education provider of choice for financial services professionals who are committed to adding enriching their knowledge through advanced programs and quality support services.
It offers a variety of credentials, including Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® (CRPC®), who are certified to develop “road maps to retirement) focused on clients’ pre- and post-retirement needs, as well as issues related to asset management and estate planning.
The CRPC® designation is the industry-benchmark of retirement planning credentials and certification that its designees have:
- Mastered specialized tax and estate strategies and objectives specifically for retirees
- Understand the unique financial and emotional aspects of the retirement process
A final word
While due diligence is critical to ensuring you choose a knowledgeable, experience and ethical financial planner, your research results shall not be taken as a preview or prediction of your portfolio’s performance.
Glen D. Smith, CFP®, CRPC®, is the managing partner of Glen D. Smith and Associates in Flower Mound, Texas. Glen received the Forbes’ Best-in-State Wealth Advisor accolade in 2019. Glen’s goal is to provide clients with highly personalized and attentive financial advice, coaching, and administrative support.
Content for this blog has been adapted from information located on the FINRA®, FPA® and CFFP® websites. Any opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. The Forbes ranking of Best-In-State Wealth Advisors, developed by SHOOK Research is based on an algorithm of qualitative criteria and quantitative data. Those advisors that are considered have a minimum of 7 years of experience, and the algorithm weighs factors like revenue trends, AUM, compliance records, industry experience and those that encompass best practices in their practices and approach to working with clients. Portfolio performance is not a criteria due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Out of 21,138 advisors nominated by their firms, 2,213 received the award. This ranking is not indicative of advisor’s future performance, is not an endorsement, and may not be representative of individual clients’ experience. Neither Raymond James nor any of its Financial Advisors or RIA firms pay a fee in exchange for this award/rating. Raymond James is not affiliated with Forbes or Shook Research, LLC.