CFE Certified Financial Examiner (CFE) test Questions |

CFE test Questions - Certified Financial Examiner (CFE) Updated: 2023

Review CFE real question and answers before you take test
Exam Code: CFE Certified Financial Examiner (CFE) test Questions June 2023 by team

CFE Certified Financial Examiner (CFE)

1. CFE designation requirement
To qualify for the CFE designation, you must have obtained the AFE designation or be applying for the AFE designation concurrently with the application for the CFE designation. A CFE designation will not be granted until the AFE designation is obtained. This may occur on the same day, but the AFE designation requirements must be met before the CFE can be obtained.

2. Education requirements
To qualify for the CFE designation, you must have:

Successfully completed three semester hours of a Management course from an accredited college or university or its demonstrable equivalent, and you must provide evidence of the successful completion of this course by either a certificate of completion or a college transcript.

Note that the Management courses offered by CPCU, LOMA, and CLU will satisfy this requirement. For more information about their courses in Management, visit their websites at,, and

To qualify for the CFE designation, you must successfully complete the three CFE examinations administered by the Society of Financial Examiners. The three CFE exams are:

CFE1 - Examination Methods and Management
CFE2 - Enterprise Risk Management
CFE3 - Reinsurance

The information about registering for these examinations is provided at To assist in studying for these examinations, the Society provides study guides and textbook materials. A description of these study items is also provided at You are welcome to take CFE exams prior to receiving the AFE designation but must receive the AFE designation prior to receiving the CFE designation.

Conditional Credit Policy - Effective January 1, 2012, a candidate for the CFE designation will be subject to the conditional credit policy as stated below:

The passing grade for each of the tests of the CFE is 66 prior to July 1, 2014; thereafter it is 74. A candidate who passes any test of the CFE will earn conditional credit for that test. This conditional credit expires 36 months after the testing date. If a candidate does not successfully pass the remaining tests within the 36 months, the test associated with the conditional credit must be retaken.

An application reflecting fulfillment of all requirements for a designation must be submitted within thirty-eight months following the month in which the applicant passed his/her first test for that designation track.

4. Work-related experience requirements
To qualify for the CFE designation, you must be an insurance department employee, or self-employed with a contract for services directly with an insurance department, or be employed with a company that has a contract with a state insurance department and have three (3) years of continuous, responsible insurance department examination experience as a financial examiner. Note that the two years required for the AFE designation, qualify as the first two years of the requirement for the CFE, therefore, you only need to obtain one additional year.

5. Membership requirements
To qualify for the CFE designation, you must be an Accredited Member in good standing of the Society of Financial Examiners.

6. Application approval requirements
To receive the CFE designation, you must submit an application to SOFE headquarters and it must be approved first by the Membership Committee, who will then recommend it for approval by the Executive Committee of the Society. Upon approval by the Executive Committee, the designation will become effective.

Deadlines — The approval process of a properly completed designation application is typically between six to eight weeks, as follows: The completed application, with all required information and documentation must be submitted to SOFE by email, fax or mail, for arrival by the 3rd week of the month for inclusion in the next months Membership Committee review. Applicants recommended for approval by the Membership Committee are then submitted for vote by the Executive Committee, generally within 30 days of Membership Committee approval. Applications may be found on the Society's website at under the link for SOFE Forms or under the Resource tab.
Certified Financial Examiner (CFE)
Financial Certified test Questions

Other Financial exams

AFE Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE)
AngularJS AngularJS
AVA Accredited Valuation Analyst
CABM Certified Associate Business Manager
CBM Certified Business Manager (APBM CBM)
CCM Certified Case Manager (CCM)
CFE Certified Financial Examiner (CFE)
CFP Certified Financial Planner (CFP Level 1)
CGAP Certified Government Auditing Professional (IIA-CGAP)
CGFM Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)
CHFP Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP) - 2023
CIA-I Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
CIA-II Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
CIA-III The Certified Internal Auditor Part 3
CIA-IV The Certified Internal Auditor Part 4
CITP Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP)
CMA Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
CMAA Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor (CM and AA)
CPCM Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM) 2023
CPEA Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA)
CPFO Certified Public Finance Officer (Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting)
CRFA Certified Forensic Accountant (CRFA)
CTFA Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA)
CVA Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA)
FINRA FINRA Administered Qualification Examination
CEMAP-1 Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) offers you go through its demo version, Test our test simulator that will enable you to experience the real test environment. Passing real CFE test will be much easier for you. gives you 3 months free updates of CFE CFE dumps with real questions. Our certification team is continuously reachable at back end who updates the material as and when required.
Certified Financial Examiner (CFE)
Question: 394
The costs that provide a benefit to a company over more than one accounting period are
A. Capital expenses
B. Revenue expenses
C. Asset expenses
D. Manufacturing equipments expenses
Answer: A
Question: 395
_________________ are potential obligations that will materialize only if certain events
occur in future.
A. Warranties returns
B. Liability omissions
C. Contingent liabilities
D. Concealed expenses
Answer: C
Question: 396
According to Accounting Changes and Errors Corrections, which of the following is
NOT the type accounting change that must be disclosed to avoid misleading the user of
financial statements?
A. accounting principles
B. estimates
C. reporting entities
D. liability omissions
Answer: D
Question: 397
Improper asset valuations usually fall into which of the following category?
A. Inventory valuation
B. Accounts receivable
C. Business combinations
D. All of the above
Answer: D
Question: 398
To debit accounts receivables and credit sales is the typical entry under:
A. Fictitious account payables
B. Fictitious account receivables
C. Failure to write off account receivables
D. Failure to write off account payables
Answer: B
Question: 399
Which of the following is NOT the scheme of fixed assets that are subject to
A. Related party transactions
B. Booking fictitious assets
C. Misrepresentation asset valuation
D. Improperly capitalizing inventory and start-up costs
Answer: A
Question: 400
Which type of misstatements are considered relevant fro audit purpose?
A. Misstatements arising from fraudulent financial reporting
B. Misstatements arising from misappropriation of assets
C. Both A and B
D. Neither A nor B
Answer: C
Question: 401
In identifying risks that may result in material misstatements sue to fraud, auditors should
A. type of risk
B. significance of risk
C. pervasiveness of risk
D. All of the above
Answer: D
Question: 402
Judgments about the risk of material misstatement due to fraud have an overall effect on
how the audit is concluded in what ways?
A. Assignment of personnel and supervision
B. Accounting principles
C. Predictability of auditing procedures
D. All of the above
Answer: D
Question: 403
Which of the following is NOT included in financial statement analysis?
A. Vertical analysis
B. Horizontal analysis
C. Fraction analysis
D. Ratio analysis
Answer: C
Question: 404
A technique for analyzing the relationships between the items on an income statement,
balance sheet, or statement of cash flows by expressing components as percentages is
A. Vertical analysis
B. Horizontal analysis
C. Fraction analysis
D. Ratio analysis
Answer: A
Question: 405
A technique for analyzing the percentage change in individual financial statement items
from one year to the next in known as:
A. Vertical analysis
B. Horizontal analysis
C. Fraction analysis
D. Ratio analysis
Answer: B
Question: 406
A fraction analysis is a means of measuring the relationship between two different
financial statement amounts.
A. True
B. False
Answer: B
Question: 407
The formula to calculate quick ratio is:
A. Quick ratio = (Credit + Securities + Receivables) / Current liabilities
B. Quick ratio = (Cash + Securities + Payables) / Final liabilities
C. Quick ratio = (Credit + Securities + Payables) / Final liabilities
D. Quick ratio = (Cash + Securities + Receivables) / Current liabilities
Answer: D
Question: 408
The receivable turnover can be calculated by which of the following formula:
A. Receivable turnover = Net Sales on Account / Average Net Receivables
B. Receivable turnover = Gross Sales on Account / Average Gross Receivables
C. Receivable turnover = Net Sales on Receivables / Average Net Account
D. Receivable turnover = Gross Sales on Receivables / Average Gross Account
Answer: A
Question: 409
Collection ratio can be calculated by the formula:
A. Collection Ratio = 365 / Payable Turnover
B. Collection Ratio = 365 + Net Income / Receivable Turnover
C. Collection Ratio = 365 / Receivable Turnover
D. Collection Ratio = 365 + Net Sales / Receivable Turnover
Answer: C
Question: 410
Which of the following is the formula for the inventory turnover?
A. Inventory turnover = Cost of Goods Purchased / Average Inventory
B. Inventory turnover = Cost of Goods Sold / Average Inventory
C. Inventory turnover = Cost of Goods Sold / Total Inventory
D. Inventory turnover = Cost of Goods Purchased / Total Inventory
Answer: B
Question: 411
The modification of behavior through the perception of negative sanctions is called:
A. Endorsement
B. Deterrence
C. Consent
D. Authorization
Answer: B
Question: 412
What is considered by most professionals to be the cornerstone of an employee reporting
A. Focus line
B. Report Foundation
C. Hotline
D. Imputed Reports
Answer: C
Question: 413
Which of the following is NOT the type of hotline?
A. Part-time hotline
B. Full-time hotline
C. Third-party hotline
D. Detective hotline
Answer: D
Question: 414
According to Wheelwright; branch of philosophy which is the systematic study of
reflective choice, of the standards of right and wrong by which a person is to be guided,
and of the goods toward which it may ultimately be directed id called:
A. Ethics
B. Morality
C. Legality
D. Saintliness
Answer: A
Question: 415
What advocates that there are concrete ethical principles that cannot be violated?
A. Utilitarian principle
B. Imperative principle
C. Functional activity
D. Serviceable principle
Answer: B
Question: 416
When each situation must be evaluated on its own, in essence, the end can justify the
means, this is referred to as:
A. Situational ethics
B. Situational behavior
C. Situational principle
D. Situational hotline
Answer: A
For More exams visit
Kill your test at First Attempt....Guaranteed!

Financial Certified test Questions - BingNews Search results Financial Certified test Questions - BingNews CFP test 101: Everything You Need to Know to Pass the CFP Test No result found, try new keyword!The certified financial planner test is likely the hardest ... final review by the CFP Board's Council on Examinations. The test questions are then reviewed annually and updated when necessary ... Thu, 31 Jan 2019 01:13:00 -0600 text/html Investment advice: Good practice to ask difficult questions of financial professionals

The U.S. financial industry does not have a full disclosure law, and reportedly over 80 percent of financial professionals are not fiduciaries. (A fiduciary is a high legal standard that requires the financial advisor provide full disclosure of all material facts with the client, including any conflicts of interest.) There is one category of financial advisors who are required to be fiduciaries at all times. These are called Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs). An RIA is an independent financial advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state securities regulators.

Most investment brokers and brokerage firms work under a standard that is lower than a fiduciary, called “suitability” or “best-interest.” If the financial industry had a full disclosure law — or required all advisors to be fiduciaries — consumers would be better protected from the unethical sales tactics that are too common in the industry.

Let me provide an example. When readers of my column contact me with questions, I often schedule a phone call with them. A reader recently told me about his experience with a national discount brokerage firm in early 2023. This brokerage firm manages many 401(k) retirement plans for corporations, and, when he retired, rolling over his 401(k) from his employer to an IRA at the brokerage firm was a simple process. His IRA was worth slightly over $1 million. He also recently inherited $1 million after his mother’s death, which he deposited into a taxable account at the brokerage firm. When he met with a “financial consultant” at the firm, he explained that he did not want a lot of risk in his investments.

The financial consultant recommended he buy two five-year fixed annuities for $500,000 each; one for his IRA and one for his taxable account. He was told the annuities are similar to a five-year Certificate of Deposit (CD), and the fixed rate would be 3.7 percent for five years. When he shared this with me, I was stunned. I explained that I have always been a fan of investors keeping control of their money. Buying an annuity requires signing a contract with an insurance company, which involves giving up control to the insurance company. He said he believes he will regain access to the money in five years, but he is not certain.

So, is there a problem here? Maybe not, if the investor is pleased with his decision. However, this conversation led me to do some research. The type of fixed annuity he bought is called a “multi-year guaranteed annuity (MYGA). It is designed to be similar to a CD. So, in retrospect, what questions could he have asked the financial consultant before agreeing to buy the annuities?

1. What other low-risk investments should he consider other than an annuity? Were there better choices available?

In my view, CDs would have been a better choice. When he bought the annuities (paying a fixed rate of 3.7 percent), there were five-year CDs available with yields of 4.5 percent. Brokerage firms can access what are called “brokered” CDs from banks across the US, and they are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank. Brokered CDs typically have much higher yields than those offered by “brick and mortar” banks. The financial consultant could have recommended two $250,000 CDs for his IRA and another two for his brokerage account (from four different banks). (As I submit this article on May 30, there are five-year brokered CDs available at brokerage firms at 4.9 percent. However, many of them are “callable,” and I recommend you look for a CD that is non-callable, meaning it is a fixed, guaranteed rate for the entire five years. There are currently non-callable five-year CDs available at 4.55 percent.)

The fixed annuities with a yield of 3.7 percent (which he purchased for a total of $1 million) will pay him $37,000 per year, which will total $185,000 over 5 years. If he had bought CDs with yields of 4.5 percent, he would have earned $45,000 per year, for a total of $225,000 over five years. The CDs would have paid him an additional $40,000 over 5 years (as compared to the annuities), they would have been FDIC insured, and he would know he will have complete access to the $1,000,000 when they mature in 5 years. Tax ramifications are identical between the annuity and CDs in his IRA. For his taxable account, the earnings on the annuity are likely tax-deferred, but that is a minor benefit when tax rates are expected to go up in 2026 and he would have earned more each year from the CDs.

2. How much did the financial consultant earn in commissions from selling the annuities to him?

It is impossible to know for certain, but online research suggested he probably earned 2.5 percent of the $1 million invested. (Another source suggested the commission rate was likely 4 percent.) If we accept the 2.5 percent estimate, he earned $25,000 for selling the annuities. It is possible the brokerage firm also paid him bonuses for selling annuities. Is this relevant? The financial consultant (and the discount brokerage firm) may argue the investor did not directly pay the $25,000, so it is not relevant. I would argue it is very relevant, because the investor indirectly paid for the commission by accepting a lower yield on the annuities.

The financial consultant did not disclose how he was being paid for selling the annuities, and he did not discuss other low-risk investments that may have been more attractive to the customer. Another benefit of the CDs is that the early withdrawal penalty (if the investor needed to unravel the CD in less than 5 years) is typically less than on an annuity. Between 1-5 years, the withdrawal penalty on the annuity is often 7 percent, whereas a typical early withdrawal penalty on a CD is 6 months of interest. On a CD earning 4.5 percent, this would be 2.25 percent.

This example conveys the impact of the lack of a fiduciary standard and a full-disclosure law. The financial consultant did not break any laws because the brokerage firm is held to a lower standard. There was clearly a conflict of interest present, because the financial consultant knew that CDs were likely a better choice for the investor than the annuities. There may have been other investments (such as treasury notes, bond funds or ETFs) that could have been discussed with the investor for the taxable account. For the traditional IRA a bond (or CD) ladder to support potential Roth conversions over the next few years (that the investor is considering) may have been a good choice, or a bond ladder designed to provide estimated RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions) that will begin in a few years could have been discussed.

Is there a “Buyer Beware” message here? I recommend you ask lots or questions of anyone giving you financial advice. This pertains to financial advisors, financial planners, investment advisors, wealth managers, and many other titles frequently used in the financial, banking, and insurance industry.

Donna Skeels Cygan, CFP®, MBA is the author of The Joy of Financial Security, and her upcoming book Sage Choices After 50. She owned a fee-only financial planning firm in Albuquerque for over 20 years before recently retiring. She welcomes emails from readers at Prior columns are available at

Mon, 05 Jun 2023 01:15:00 -0500 Donna Skeels Cygan/Invest in Joy en-US text/html
Best Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

If you're considering hiring a financial advisor, it's a good idea to have a list of questions ready during your interview process. Financial advice can be quite helpful if you're finding yourself unsure about how to proceed with a particular financial decision. At the same time, you'll want to have confidence that you're working with a qualified individual or team of individuals.

Here, we'll discuss the top questions to ask a financial advisor.

1. Are you a fiduciary at all times?

1. Are you a fiduciary at all times?

This is a foundational question: Is the advisor always a fiduciary? In other words, does the advisor always have your best interests in mind and not their own?

A fiduciary obligation requires the advisor to act in your (the client's) interests above their own at all times. Some advisors wear a few hats; from one angle, they can act as an advisor; from another, they can be a product salesperson. An advisor will guide you to make sound financial decisions, while a salesperson may be at least as concerned with fulfilling their own quotas or sales requirements.

The stark reality is that many advisors, especially those working for large brokerage institutions, are both advisors and salespeople at the same time. They may only choose to work with select clients that have the ability to pay high advisory fees or purchase high-cost investments.

Confirming that your advisor is a fiduciary at all times is essential before beginning any sort of advisory relationship. Eliminating conflicts of interest will make for a more fruitful interaction on both ends.

2. How do you get paid?

2. How do you get paid?

This is another question core to the relationship, and it's key that you understand the dollar amount you're paying for any services received.

Many advisors charge an "AUM fee," or a fee corresponding to the assets they manage for you.

In practice, many advisors charge 1% of assets managed, which may not sound like much. But the reality is a bit surprising: A 1% fee applied on a $1,000,000 balance is $10,000 per year, and the fee will increase proportionally as the account balance increases. Over time, and due to the nature of compound interest, fees can really add up!

Other advisors may have different fee structures, which may vary depending on whether they actually manage money for you. Some advisors may charge trading commissions on any trades they place on your behalf, while others may have more bespoke cost arrangements.

Fee-only financial planners, on the other hand, may charge you on an hourly basis for as-needed advice, or they may charge a fixed-fee retainer for ongoing access to advice. Other planners might also be willing to work on a project basis, depending on the depth and complexity of your needs.

The only way to know is to ask -- but be sure you understand the dollar amount you're paying for any service. Don't be satisfied with just a percentage amount!

3. What is your investment philosophy?

3. What is your investment philosophy?

Asking about an advisor's investment philosophy is an important way to learn how they think about risk, and it's also an opportunity to have them showcase their knowledge about investing and broader financial planning.

You may not necessarily agree with the advisor's philosophy right off the bat. But it's important to see that they actually have a philosophy to offer. You'll know quickly if the advisor displays fluency in the topic.

They should be able to provide you some sense of their knowledge and opinions about stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, and insurance products. Taken holistically, the advisor should have comprehensive investment knowledge and be able to explain their personal philosophy around investing money.

4. Do you have any financial credentials?

4. Do you have any financial credentials?

Credentials are not necessarily the be-all-end-all for an advisor. But they do signal a commitment to the study of financial courses and a commitment to their professional craft.

Most financial credentials, like the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation or the certified financial planner (CFP) marks, are voluntary in nature. This means the advisor took the time and energy to put in the work required to earn one or more of them, even when it may not have been in their job description.

Many of the heavier-lift credentials take hours upon hours of dedicated study to complete, and some exams, like the vaunted CFA exam, are only given infrequently. It's not uncommon at all for a candidate to take several years to complete the CFA program.

In general, take the advisor's credentials in the context of their entire picture as an individual. Alone, a few letters after someone's name may not mean much to you. But paired with a track record of fiduciary guidance and varied experience, credentials can carry quite a bit of weight.

5. Do you incorporate tax planning into your recommendations?

5. Do you incorporate tax planning into your recommendations?

Like it or not, taxes are an ongoing expense for investors of all ages. A tax-aware advisor will recommend products (and accounts) that best position you to minimize your lifetime tax liability. Simple changes to your investment plan -- like ensuring all investments are placed in their most tax-efficient location -- can make things simpler and lower-cost for you, as well as easier for any tax advisor to track.

As an example, holding dividend-paying stocks in a taxable brokerage account will lead to taxable income every time a dividend is paid. Holding growth stocks in a taxable account, on the other hand, won't generate as much taxable income unless you begin to realize gains (though this is something under your control).

Small bits of knowledge like this can add a ton of value over the long haul, so be sure that your advisor has some knowledge of tax planning before agreeing to hire them.

6. How often will you communicate with me/us?

6. How often will you communicate with me/us?

Try to get a sense of how frequently you'll communicate with your advisor or if you should only expect one or two contacts per year. For some people, this might be enough; for others who need more of a high-touch advisory relationship, be sure that your advisor is willing and able to provide one.

Also, be sure you understand the advisor's preferred mode of communication; this should align with your expectations. In other words, get a sense of whether you'll be meeting with your advisor virtually or if they typically do in-person meet-ups. Having someone you can connect with in a way that works for both of you will lay the foundation for a productive relationship.

To the extent possible, try to get this information before signing on the dotted line.

Related investing topics

Why picking an advisor is so important

Why picking an advisor is so important

The financial advisory industry can be somewhat of a black box, and wading through a seemingly never-ending sea of cost structures and service offerings can be exhausting. Knowing the key questions to ask an advisor can no doubt help you find the right person for advice, but it can also help you reach your financial goals. Working with a trusted partner makes sense as long as you can identify the value they provide and as long as you see results over the long term.

Of the questions above, the two to pay particular attention to are the ones around their fiduciary responsibility, as well as their compensation. If an advisor isn't always a fiduciary (that is, they won't commit to placing your best interests ahead of your own), really consider if that's a relationship you want to have around.

Second, be able to identify the dollar amount you're paying for the services on an ongoing basis. If you wouldn't take out a checkbook and pay for the services of your own volition, be extra careful. Most percentage-based advisory fees are subtracted "behind the scenes" or on the last page of your statement, so it's easy for them to go unnoticed. Know exactly how much you're paying and exactly what you're receiving in return.

Searching for an advisor doesn't have to be a strict interrogation. It can even be fun. You want to like your advisor, and you want to feel that you can trust them to put your interests first.

Take your time, do your due diligence, and hire someone who gives you confidence around your financial decisions.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
Mon, 08 May 2023 20:10:00 -0500 Sam Swenson, CFA, CPA en text/html
Best CFP test Prep Courses of 2023

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional designation for the financial planning profession. Financial planners can earn the CFP designation after completing the CFP Board's education, exam, experience, and ethics requirements.

One of the more challenging steps in the process, the CFP exam, is a pass-or-fail test. You may register for the CFP test after meeting the CFP Board's education requirements. Once you pass the exam, you will be one step closer to becoming a CFP professional, one of the most elite financial planning designations.

To create our list of the best CFP test prep courses, we compared each program's features, including reputation, cost, guarantees, course materials, in-person classes, special features, and more. These are the best CFP test prep courses for aspiring CFP professionals.

Tue, 12 Jan 2016 02:00:00 -0600 en text/html
Becoming a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)

If you are a financial professional and wish to work as an investment adviser to help individual investors manage assets their assets, or provide financial counsel, you generally need to become an Investment Adviser Representative (IAR) under a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) firm.

An RIA is a legal entity that is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or a state securities regulator as a company that can offer advisory services for a fee. An IAR an individual who works for a RIA firm and has passed the necessary licensing requirements to offer investment advice. So while the two terms and their acronym may look similar, there is an important distinction to be made.

RIAs and IARs have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest and disclose any conflicts of interest. They also have specific requirements and regulations that can differ from some other types of financial advisors.

Key Takeaways

  • Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)s are financial firms
  • To form an RIA, investment advisors must pass the Series 65 test (or equivalent).
  • RIAs must register with the SEC or state authorities, depending on the amount of money they manage.
  • Applying to become an RIA includes filing a Form ADV, which includes a disclosure document that is also distributed to all clients.
  • Usually compensated by a percentage of assets under management, RIAs are legally required to act in a fiduciary capacity for their clients at all times.

Licensing and Qualifications

The first step to start a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is for the individuals to pass the Series 65 (Uniform Investment Advisor Law) test so that they can become an IARs. The Series 65 test is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a self-regulating, private organization that writes and enforces the rules governing registered brokers and broker-dealer firms in the United States.

The test itself covers federal securities laws and other courses related to investment advice. It has 140 multiple choice questions, of which 10 are pretest questions that will not count towards the final grade. Of the 130 scored questions, a candidate must correctly answer 94 to pass the three-hour exam.

It is important to note that while no other licensure or designations are required in order to become an IAR, most advisors will find it rather difficult to bring in business without additional qualifications. These can include other FINRA exams such as the Series 6 or Series 7, and credentials such as the CFP® or CFA designation. In fact, many states will actually allow advisors who carry the following designations in good standing to waive the Series 65. These designations include:

Series 65 test-takers are not required to be sponsored by a broker-dealer, as they are for most other securities-related exams administered by FINRA.

Federal and State Registration for RIAs

If providing investment advice or asset management services is going to be key to the services you offer, the next step to becoming an RIA is to register the financial advisory firm with either the SEC or with the state(s) in which you intend to do business.

However, you will not have to do this if providing investment services or advice is purely incidental to your practice. Professionals who may qualify under this exception includes:

  • Accountants
  • Attorneys
  • Engineers
  • Teachers
  • Bankers
  • Broker-dealers
  • Publishers
  • Advisors who work exclusively with U.S. government securities
  • Advisors who are registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and for whom providing investment advice is not a primary line of business
  • Employees of charitable organizations

SEC Registration Eligibility

Regulations passed in the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 set certain limits for SEC registration:

  • A small adviser with less than $25 million of AUM is prohibited from SEC registration if its principal office and place of business are in a state that regulates advisers (currently all states except Wyoming).
  • A mid-sized adviser with AUM between $25 million and $100 million of AUM:
    Is required to register with the SEC if its principal office and place of business is in New York or Wyoming, unless a registration exemption is available (e.g., exemption for certain advisers to private funds).
  • Is prohibited from SEC registration if its principal office and place of business are in any state except New York or Wyoming, and the mid-sized adviser is required to be registered in that state. If the mid-sized adviser is not required to be registered in that state, then the adviser must register with the SEC, unless a registration exemption is available.
  • An adviser approaching $100 million of AUM may rely on a registration “buffer” that ranges from $90 million to $110 million of AUM. The adviser:
    May register with the SEC when it acquires $100 million of AUM
  • Must register with the SEC once it reaches $110 million of AUM, unless a registration exemption is available
  • Once registered with the SEC, is not required to withdraw from SEC registration and register with the states until the adviser has less than $90 million of AUM.
  • A large adviser with at least $110 million of AUM is required to register with the SEC, unless a registration exemption is available.

Any firm or individual who acts as an investment advisor on behalf of an investment company is also required to file with the SEC, regardless of the number of assets under management.

Firms that register with the SEC are never required to file with states as well, but they must file a notice of SEC registration with each state in which they do business. The majority of states do not require registration or filing of notice if the advisor has less than five clients in the state and does not have a place of business there.

Most firms register with these entities as a corporation, with each advisor acting as an investment advisor representative (IAR). It should be noted that while corporate registration may limit an advisor's financial liability, it will not allow one to escape legal or regulatory action if the RIA violates rules.

RIAs and the Form ADV

The next step in the registration process is to create an account with the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD), which is managed by FINRA on behalf of the SEC and states. (A few states do not require this, so advisors who only do business in those localities do not have to go through this process.) Once the account is open, FINRA will supply the advisor or firm with a CRD number and account ID information. Then the RIA can file Form ADV and the U4 forms with either the SEC or states.

The Form ADV is the official application document used by the government to apply to become an RIA. It has multiple sections and all must be completed, although only the first section is electronically submitted to the SEC or state government for approval. Part II of the form serves as a disclosure document that is distributed to all clients. It must clearly list all services that are provided to clients, as well as a breakdown of compensation and fees, possible conflicts of interest, the firm's code of ethics, the advisor's financial condition, educational background and credentials, and any affiliated parties.

Form ADV must also be uploaded electronically into the IARD and made available to all new and prospective clients. Preparing and submitting these forms typically takes most firms a few weeks, and then the SEC must respond to the application within 45 days.

Some states may respond as soon as 30 days but the process, in either case, is often delayed by requests for additional information and questions that need clarification. All firms that register with the SEC must also create a comprehensive written compliance program that covers all aspects of their practice, from trading and account administration to sales and marketing and internal disciplinary procedures.

Once the SEC approves an application, the firm may engage in business as an RIA and is required to file an annual amendment to Schedule 1 of the ADV, which updates all of the firm's relevant information (such as the number of assets currently under management). Also, while the SEC has no specific financial or bonding requirements for advisors, such as a minimum net worth or cash flow, it does examine the advisor's financial condition closely during the application process.

Most states require RIAs to have a net worth of at least $35,000 if they have actual custody of client funds and $10,000 if they do not; RIAs who fail to meet this requirement must post a surety bond. (The rules for this requirement, as well as several other aspects of registration, vary from state to state.)

IARs vs. RRs

Financial professionals choose to become IARs and establish RIAs because it allows them greater freedom to structure their practices—more so than that allowed registered representatives who also advise, buy and sell securities for individual investors, usually as employees of brokerage firms.

Registered representatives who work for broker-dealers—aka stockbrokers—must always pay a percentage of their earnings as compensation for their back-office support and compliance oversight, which most will readily concede can be overbearing at times.

Brokers also usually work on commission, while the majority of RIAs charge their customers either a percentage of assets under management or a flat or hourly fee for their services. Many RIAs also use another firm, such as a discount broker, to house their clients' assets instead of holding the accounts in-house, in order to simplify their recordkeeping and administration.

Despite the similar-sounding names, registered representatives (RRs) are not the same as investment advisor representatives (IARs). RRs work for a brokerage firm, serving as its representative for clients trading investment products. Brokers are RRs.

Fight for Regulatory Oversight

Although the SEC and the states have the responsibility of overseeing RIAs, FINRA has spent the past several years lobbying Congress to let it take on the task, even attempting to get a bill passed to that effect in 2012. FINRA claims that research shows that the SEC cannot adequately oversee the RIA industry by itself, and either needs more resources to do so or else needs to cede oversight of RIAs to a self-regulatory organization (SRO) such as FINRA. Indeed, a study done by the SEC itself in 2011 showed that the government only had the capacity to review less than 10% of all RIAs under its jurisdiction in 2010. FINRA has maintained that it has the resources to effectively oversee and review all RIAs on a regular basis.

However, the RIA community has fought to stop FINRA from intruding upon its territory. The cost of administrating this additional regulation would place a heavy financial burden on advisors, and many smaller firms would likely be put out of business.

Many RIAs also view FINRA as an ineffective organization that is heavily biased toward the broker-dealer community, and some statistics indicate that FINRA has ruled substantially in favor of the major wirehouses in arbitration cases where clients sought large amounts of money in transactional disputes. Advisors also see FINRA substantially lowering the protection given to RIA clients now, as RIAs are legally required to act in a fiduciary capacity for their clients at all times.

Brokers and securities licensed reps only have to meet the suitability standard, a much lower standard of conduct, which only requires that a given transaction performed by a broker must be "suitable" for the client at that time. The fiduciary standard requires that advisors unconditionally put their clients' best interests ahead of their own at all times and in all situations and circumstances. FINRA oversight would likely put an end to this standard for advisors.

What are the primary steps to establishing a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in the U.S.?

Establishing an RIA involves several key steps. First, you need to pass the Series 65 test or have a valid Series 7 and Series 66, as this is required by most states. Second, draft your firm's compliance documents including Form ADV Parts 1 and 2, which describe the nature of your business, types of clients, fee structure, and potential conflicts of interest. Then, register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state regulator by filing the Form ADV along with other required forms. Finally, implement a compliance program and ongoing compliance processes as per the regulatory requirements.

How much does it cost to start an RIA?

Costs to start an RIA can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including state registration fees, legal and compliance consulting fees, technology costs, and operational expenses. Generally, the startup cost can range from $10,000 to $50,000. However, ongoing costs such as compliance, technology, and staffing should also be considered in the budget.

Can I operate my RIA in more than one state?

Yes, you can operate your RIA in multiple states. However, each state will have its own registration requirements, so you'll need to ensure you comply with the regulations in each state where you do business. If your RIA manages $100 million or more in client assets, you can register with the SEC at the federal level instead of with state securities authorities, which will allow you to operate in multiple states more easily.

What is the fiduciary duty of an RIA and why is it important?

The fiduciary duty of an RIA is a legal obligation to act in the best interests of their clients. This means an RIA must provide investment advice that best meets the needs of the client, even if it's not in the RIA's own best interest. This is important as it ensures that the advice provided to clients is based solely on their needs, goals, and risk tolerance, which helps to build trust and confidence in the relationship.

The Bottom Line

Registered Investment advisors enjoy greater freedom than their counterparts in the industry who work on commission. They are also required to adhere to a much higher standard of conduct, and most advisors feel strongly that this should not change.

Of course, those who register to become RIAs must also contend with the normal startup issues that most new business owners face, such as marketing, branding, and location, in addition to the registration process.

Mon, 22 May 2023 08:56:00 -0500 en text/html
What Is a Certified Financial Planner? No result found, try new keyword!The certified financial planner ... scenario-based and case-study questions. In July 2021, 62% of exam-takers passed the test. "Studying for the test is a major commitment and is usually done ... Wed, 24 Nov 2021 02:34:00 -0600 text/html How To Choose A Financial Advisor

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

Are you seeking assistance with your financial management? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans could benefit from financial guidance. In fact, according to the National Financial Education Council, the average American incurs a cost of $1,200 per year due to a lack of personal finance knowledge.

Choosing a good financial advisor can help you avoid these costs and focus on your goals. Financial advisors aren’t just for rich people—working with a financial advisor is a great choice for anyone who wants to get their personal finances on track and set long-term objectives. To find the ideal financial advisor for your requirements, consider following our 5 key steps.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

Step 1: Decide What Part of Your Financial Life You Need An Advisor For

Before you speak to a financial advisor, decide which aspects of your financial life you need help with. When you first sit down with an advisor, you’ll want to be ready to explain your particular money management needs.

Keep in mind that financial advisors provide more than just investment advice. The best financial planner is the one who can help you chart a course for all your financial needs. This can cover investment advice for retirement plans, debt repayment, insurance product suggestions to protect yourself and your family and estate planning.

Depending on where you are in life, you may not need comprehensive financial planning. People whose financial lives are relatively straightforward, like young people without families of their own or significant debt, might only need help with retirement planning.

People with complex financial needs, however, may need extra assistance. They could be looking to establish college funds or trusts for their children, navigate aggressive debt payment situations or solve tricky tax problems. Not all types of financial advisors offer the same menu of services, so decide which services you need and let this guide your search.

Step 2: Learn About the Different Types of Financial Advisors

There’s no federal law that regulates who can call themselves a financial advisor or provide financial advice. While many people call themselves financial advisors, not all have your best interest at heart. That’s why you have to carefully evaluate potential financial advisors and make sure they are good for you and your money.

Part of learning about the different types of advisors is understanding fiduciary duty. Some, but not all, financial advisors are bound by fiduciary duty, meaning that they are legally required to work in your financial best interest. Other people who call themselves advisors are only held to a suitability standard, meaning they only must suggest products that are suitable for you—even if they’re more expensive and earn them a higher commission. (The SEC is trying to regulate this, though, by limiting the use of “advisor” to those who hold themselves to a fiduciary standard.)

Regardless of which kind of advisor you choose, you should make sure you know how they earn money. This helps you determine if their recommendations are actually better for you—or for their wallets.

Here’s how to think about these four types of financial advisors:

1. Fee-Only Financial Advisors

Fee-only financial advisors earn money from the fees you pay for their services. These fees may be charged as a percentage of the assets they manage for you, as an hourly rate, or as a flat rate.

Almost all fee-only advisors are fiduciaries. Generally speaking, they have chosen to work under a fee-only model to reduce any potential conflicts of interest. Because their income is from clients, it’s in their best interest to make sure you end up with financial plans and financial products that work best for you.

2. Financial Advisors Who Earn Commissions

Some financial advisors make money by earning sales commissions from third parties. Among financial advisors that earn sales commissions, some may advertise themselves as “free” financial advisors that do not charge you fees for advice. Others may charge fees, meaning they derive only part of their income from third-party commissions.

Either way, financial advisors who earn third-party sales commissions derive some or all of their income from selling you certain financial products. If you choose to work with a financial advisor who earns sales commissions, you need to take extra care.

Commission-only advisors are not fiduciaries. They work as salespeople for investment and insurance brokerages and are only held to suitability standards. In contrast, some fee-based financial advisors are fiduciaries, though it’s important to determine if they’re always acting as fiduciaries or if they “pause” fiduciary duty when discussing certain types of products, like insurance.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

Keep in mind, commissions aren’t bad in and of themselves. They’re not even necessarily red flags.

Some financial products are predominantly sold under a commission model. Take life insurance: A fee-based planner who receives compensation for helping you purchase a life insurance policy may still have your best interests at heart when advising on other financial products.

“To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with paying the commission for life insurance,” says Karen Van Voorhis, a fee-based certified financial planner (CFP) and Director of Financial Planning at Daniel J. Galli & Associates in Norwell, Mass. “That’s how the structure of that industry works.”

Purchasing financial products via financial advisors that earn commissions may be a matter of convenience, especially if someone will receive a commission regardless of where you buy the product. What’s important is understanding the difference. And if you work with a fee-based financial advisor, understand when they are acting as a fiduciary, especially when they help you purchase financial products.

Looking For A Financial Advisor?

Get In Touch With A Pre-screened Financial Advisor In 3 Minutes

3. Registered Investment Advisors

Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are companies that provide fiduciary financial advice. RIAs employ Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs), who are bound by fiduciary duty. An RIA may have one or hundreds of IARs working for it.

IARs may call themselves financial advisors and may be fee-only or fee-based. Some may have additional credentials, including the certified financial planner (CFP) designation.

“The certified financial planner designation is really the gold standard in the financial planning industry,” says Van Voorhis. A CFP designation indicates a financial advisor has passed rigorous industry exams covering real estate, investment, and insurance planning as well as has years of experience in their fields.

Because of their wide range of expertise, CFPs are well-suited to help you plan out every aspect of your financial life. They may be particularly helpful for those with complex financial situations, including managing large outstanding debts and will, trust and estate planning.

4. Robo Advisors

Robo advisors offer low-cost, automated investment advice. Most specialize in helping people invest for mid- and long-term goals, like retirement, through preconstructed diversified portfolios of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

“For younger people who are really tech-savvy, a robo advisor just to manage retirement funds could be a perfect solution,” says Brian Behl, a CFP at Behl Wealth Management in Waukesha, Wisc. “I don’t think they’re going to get as in-depth advice on insurance and retirement and taxes.”

People with complex financial needs should probably choose a conventional financial advisor, although many robo advisors provide financial planning services a la carte or for higher net-worth clients.

“While the robo advisors have really disrupted the industry…I do think there’s still a place for human advisors right now,” says Corbin Blackwell, a CFP at robo advisor Betterment.

Betterment, for example, allows clients to purchase individual financial advising sessions, and Personal Capital, Wealthsimple, and Betterment provide regular financial planning for clients with higher account balances for a management fee.

Step 3: Choose What Kind of Financial Advice You Need

Services offered by financial advisors vary from advisor to advisor, but they may provide financial advice on any of the following topics:

  • Investment advice: Financial advisors research different investment options and make sure your investment portfolio stays within your desired level of risk.
  • Debt management: If you have outstanding debts, like credit card debt, student loans, car loans, or mortgages, financial advisors will work with you to chart a plan for repayment.
  • Budgeting help: Financial advisors are experts in analyzing where your money goes once it leaves your paycheck. Advisors can help you craft budgets so you’re prepared to reach your financial goals.
  • Insurance coverage: Financial advisors may examine your current policies to identify any gaps in coverage or recommend new types of policies, like disability insurance or long-term care coverage, depending on your financial situation.
  • Tax planning: Tax planning involves strategizing ways to decrease the amount of taxes you may pay, like by large charitable donations or tax-loss harvesting. Keep in mind that not all financial planners are tax experts and that tax planning is different from tax preparation. You will probably still need a CPA or tax software to file your taxes.
  • Retirement planning: Financial advisors can help you build funds for the ultimate long-term goal, retirement. And then, once you’re retired or nearing retirement, they can help ensure you’re able to keep your money safe.
  • Estate planning: For those who wish to leave a legacy, financial advisors can help you transfer your wealth to the next generation, whether that’s family, friends, or charitable causes.
  • College planning: If you hope to fund loved ones’ educations, financial advisors can craft a plan to help you save for their higher education.

In addition to investment management and financial planning, financial advisors also offer emotional support and perspective during volatile economic times. During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020, for instance, client demand for financial advisor contact increased by almost 50%.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

“I think that during these times, we can be a source of reason,” says Blackwell. “We can weather the storm. We’ve built this portfolio for a reason.”

When choosing a financial advisor, make sure they offer the services you’re looking for in your financial and non-financial lives.

Looking For A Financial Advisor?

Get In Touch With A Pre-screened Financial Advisor In 3 Minutes

Step 4: Decide How Much You Can Pay Your Financial Advisor

It used to be that financial advisors charged fees that were a percentage of the assets they managed for you. Today advisors offer a wide variety of fee structures, which helps make their services accessible to clients of all levels of financial means.

  • Commission-only financial advisors may seem free on paper, but they may receive a portion of what you invest or purchase as a payment. These “free” financial advisors typically are available through investment or insurance brokerages. Remember, these advisors may only be held to suitability standards, so they may end up costing what you would pay for a similar financial product suggested by a fiduciary financial advisor—or more.
  • Fee-only and fee-based financial advisors may charge fees based on the total amount of assets they manage for you (assets under management) or they may charge by the hour, by the plan, through a retainer agreement, or via a subscription model. Common average financial advisor fee rates are listed in the table below:

Step 5: Research Financial Advisors

Financial advice comes in many forms, and there are a variety of different kinds of financial professionals, so you need to do your homework. Make sure the advisor guiding your financial decisions is trustworthy and capable.

There are a few good ways to find a financial advisor. Ask friends, family and peers for recommendations when trying to find a financial advisor near you. Alternatively, look for financial advisors online. Many professional financial planning associations provide free databases of financial advisors:

When evaluating advisors, be sure to consider their credentials as well as research their backgrounds and fee structures. You can view disciplinary actions and complaints filed against financial advisors using FINRA’s BrokerCheck. And remember, just because someone is part of a financial planning association, that doesn’t mean they’re a fiduciary financial advisor.

Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor

When meeting a financial advisor for the first time, it’s important to obtain the answers to these questions and ensure you’re satisfied with their responses:

  • Fiduciary Status: Are you a fiduciary, committed to acting in my best interest?
  • Compensation Structure: How do you make money? Understand their fee structure and any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Consistency of Fiduciary Duty: Do you always act as fiduciaries, even when selling commission-based products?
  • Financial Planning Approach: What is your approach to financial planning? Learn about their strategies and methodologies.
  • Available Services: What financial planning services do you offer? Ensure their offerings align with your specific needs.
  • Client Profile: What kind of clients do you typically work with? Confirm if they have experience catering to clients similar to you.
  • Account Minimums: Do you have any account minimums? Determine if their requirements match your financial situation.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Do you have any conflicts of interest in managing your money? Ensure transparency and alignment of interests.
  • Required Information: What information do you need me to provide to develop my financial plan? Gather relevant documents.
  • Meeting Frequency: How many times and how often will we meet? Establish expectations for ongoing communication.
  • Collaboration with Advisors: Will you collaborate with your other advisors, such as CPAs or attorneys? Coordinate efforts for comprehensive financial management.

Related: Find A Financial Advisor In 3 minutes

The Bottom Line

Because of the ambiguity in the industry, you have to exercise caution to make sure you get the right financial advisor who meets your fiduciary and financial needs. That said, when you choose the right financial advisor for you, they can help you achieve your financial goals and financially protect your loved ones and their futures.

“So much of what I do in a life-centered approach to financial planning and wealth management is walk out life with people,” says Wes Brown, a CFP at CogentBlue Wealth Advisors in Knoxville, Tenn. “I think there’s value in an ongoing relationship where somebody can help you walk through the various waypoints you’re going to come to.

Looking For A Financial Advisor?

Get In Touch With A Pre-screened Financial Advisor In 3 Minutes

Financial Advisor Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a financial advisor?

Financial advisors are personal finance experts who provide you financial advice and manage your money. Some—but not all—are fiduciaries. A fiduciary acts only in your best financial interest.

“A financial advisor is like a coach,” says Matt Chancey, a certified financial planner (CFP) at Dempsey Lord Smith in Tampa, Fla. “It helps to have someone keep you accountable to your goals and make sure that you aren’t making any major missteps.”

What can a financial advisor do for you?

A good financial investment advisor can evaluate your current situation and develop a comprehensive plan to guide you through your financial life.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” says Marianela Collado, a CFP and certified public accountant (CPA) at Tobias Financial Advisors in Plantation, Fla. “By opening your finances up, a good financial adviser can suggest a wide range of opportunities that the client probably never thought of or wouldn’t even know to ask for.”

Who needs a financial advisor?

Though some people may think they don’t need a financial advisor until they’ve amassed at least $1 million, the amount of assets you hold shouldn’t be the sole determining factor. In fact, financial advisors work with clients of all tax brackets and backgrounds.

How much does a financial advisor cost?

Financial advisor fees can vary widely. This is due to there being different methods for a financial advisor to generate their income. Some advisors are fee-only. Other advisors are commission-based. Some advisors even work on a hybrid model between the two.

It’s recommended that you research how the individual advisor you’re choosing generates their income before starting to work with them.

When should I get a financial advisor?

Financial advisors become most helpful when your financial life becomes complex. That might be when you get married, have children, get divorced, are managing many competing debts, come into an unexpected windfall or are navigating end-of-life financial decisions.

Thu, 01 Jun 2023 02:22:00 -0500 John Schmidt en-US text/html
Certified Financial Planner (CFP): Definition, What CFPs Do

What is a certified financial planner?

A certified financial planner (CFP) is a type of financial advisor who possesses one of the most rigorous certifications for financial planning knowledge. They must have several years of experience related to financial planning, pass the CFP test and adhere to a strict ethical standard as set by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

Unlike some other types of financial advisors, certified financial planners are held to a fiduciary standard, meaning they are obligated to act in their client's best interests.

What does a certified financial planner do?

Financial planners who earn a CFP designation must demonstrate proficiency in risk management, investment, tax, retirement, income and estate planning.

This means that they can work with clients to provide comprehensive services across a broad spectrum of financial planning concerns.

CFPs who provide holistic planning can help you to create and maintain a financial plan by determining your financial goals and discussing your current financial situation and appetite for risk. They can also advise on retirement planning, saving for short- and long-term goals, choosing investments and tackling debt.

Some CFPs specialize in a certain area, such as divorce or retirement planning, while others tend to work with specific clients, like small-business owners or retirees. Because of this, it’s helpful to have an idea of the services you need before you choose a CFP.

How to become a certified financial planner (CFP)

It’s not easy to become a certified financial planner, and for good reason. Helping people navigate their finances is an important job. On average, it takes between 18 and 24 months to become a CFP and can cost a minimum of $925 if you already have an undergraduate degree and can bypass the coursework requirement.

Candidates who don't hold existing financial designations typically also need to fulfill an experience requirement, which can take from 24 to 36 months to complete. Here’s what else you'll need to do:

1. Complete the education requirement

The CFP Board requires completion of specific coursework on financial planning and a bachelor’s degree or higher. Applicants have up to five years from the date they pass the test to receive their bachelor’s degree. Those who have completed related courses in the past — or who already hold certain types of professional credentials or designations — may be eligible to skip the CFP Board–mandated coursework.

Certified Financial Planner Board. Eligibility. Accessed May 18, 2023.

2. Pass the exam

The test consists of 170 multiple-choice questions to be completed in a total of six hours. According to the CFP Board, an average of 68% of first-time exam-takers passed in 2022.

3. Gain professional experience

To meet the experience requirement, prospective CFPs need to complete either 6,000 hours of professional experience related to financial planning or 4,000 hours of apprenticeship that meets additional requirements. These hours can be completed either within 10 years before taking the test and/or within five years after passing it.

4. Adhere to the ethical standard

The final steps of becoming a CFP are to sign the Ethics Declaration, in which you commit to acting as a fiduciary for your clients, and pass a background check conducted by the CFP Board.

How much does working with a CFP cost?

Not everyone needs help with their finances, but for those who do, having a CFP in your corner can be invaluable. If you aren't sure how to organize your finances, navigate investing or balance your financial priorities, a CFP can help.

The 2020 Kitces Research survey on financial planning found that CFPs charge, on average, $1,800 or $2,500 for a comprehensive financial plan, $250 for hourly services and $4,000 for flat-fee retainer services.

And while there is no set fee that CFPs charge, it’s usually more than what a non-certified advisor might charge.

Online fiduciary financial advisors, some of which offer access to CFPs, typically charge a small percentage of your assets under management, often between 0.3% and 1%. (Read more about how much a financial advisor costs.)

How do I find a certified financial planner?

Some online financial planning services offer access to CFPs for less than what an in-person advisor charges. The CFP Board offers a directory of all its certified CFPs, which makes it easy to find an in-person advisor in your area.

This site also allows you to check a CFP’s certification status and check for any instances of disciplinary action.

What is the difference between a CFP and a CFA?

The various designations financial advisors hold can cause some confusion. More often than not, a financial advisor who is a CFP will be able to help you with your financial planning needs, but other advisors may be able to better assist you in certain areas, such as tax planning. Some advisors even have multiple designations, making them more competitive within their field.

Here are a few common designations an advisor can have.

Chartered financial analyst: CFAs specialize in investment analysis and portfolio management. While CFPs typically help individual clients with their financial planning, CFAs often serve as financial advisors for corporations.

Certified public accountant: CPAs are a bit more distinct from some of the other financial advisory certifications. The CPA certification is common among tax preparers and accountants (even though CPA has the word "accountant" in it, not all accountants have CPA certifications). If your financial advisor has a CPA, they may be able to help you optimize your tax situation.

Chartered financial consultant: While ChFCs are less common than CFPs, the two certifications require similar coursework, and recipients of each are likely headed down the same career path: financial advisory and planning services. ChFCs may have more training in modern financial planning topics, such as behavioral finance, planning for same-sex couples and planning after a divorce, but CFPs have more stringent academic and examination requirements.


NerdWallet rating 


NerdWallet rating 


NerdWallet rating 





per trade for online U.S. stocks and ETFs


Get $100

when you open a new, eligible Fidelity account with $50 or more. Use code FIDELITY100. Limited time offer. Terms apply.



no promotion available at this time


Get up to 12 free fractional shares (valued up to $3,000)

when you open and fund an account with Webull.

What is the difference between a CFP and a financial advisor?

The main difference between a CFP and a financial advisor is that CFPs hold a certification that ensures they have several years of experience and are held to a fiduciary standard. The term financial advisor, on the other hand, does not necessarily denote a specific credential. It's an umbrella term that refers generally to the many different types of financial advisors.

Remember, if you have any doubts about your advisor’s CFP status, you can check their status on the CFP Board website.

Fee-only vs. fee-based financial advisor

It's also important to consider how exactly your advisor is getting paid. This is determined in part by whether they are a fee-only advisor or a fee-based advisor.

Fee-only advisors are solely paid by their clients, creating fewer opportunities for conflicts of interest. Fee-based advisors can receive a commission on products they sell, which can sometimes create those conflicts, such as suggesting a worse product over a better one because they would receive a commission. Bound by their fiduciary duty, CFPs have to put their clients’ needs first regardless of their fee structure (though it’s always a good idea to ask any advisor, CFP or not, what their fee structure is, and to work with a fee-only advisor if possible).

Mon, 06 Mar 2023 16:15:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Online MBA in Financial Planning

Our Reputation

  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Ranked by US News and World Report among the top 20 schools in the Western United States.
  • USDLA-award-winning online classes
  • Listed as one of the Top Schools in Financial Planning Magazine

More program highlights

Online Courses

Online courses are offered year-round in five, 8-week terms. The accelerated format of the program allows a student to complete the program in less than two years, if desired.

Students and faculty meet in live virtual learning environments designed for collaboration with audio, video, application sharing, and group break-out rooms.

Classes are capped at 20 students.

About online courses

Transfer Your Credit

Students may petition to transfer up to six semester credits of graduate coursework taken at other regionally accredited colleges or universities to the financial planning program at California Lutheran University.

Students may also be eligible to transfer up to nine credits for previously earned master's degrees.

View transfer agreements

The CFP® Board is a nonprofit professional regulatory organization that requires education, ethics requirements, examination, and experience for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® certificants. Along with completing the financial planning coursework and passing the CFP® Certification Examination, the CFP® Board also requires successful CFP® certificants to have financial planning-related work experience and adhere to their Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

The MBA and Certificate program in Financial Planning is registered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) in Washington DC. Candidates who plan to sit for the CFP Certification Examination must successfully complete a CFP Board-Registered Program.

The MBA and Certificate program in Financial Planning is registered by the AFCPE® Registered Education Program in Westerville, OH. Candidates who plan to sit for the AFC® Certification Examination must successfully complete a AFCPE® Registered Education Program.

Tue, 01 Jan 2008 06:43:00 -0600 en text/html
Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) Certification Merle Erickson studies the effect of taxes on the pricing and structuring of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; and the use of accounting information in valuation and contracting. He also studies, among other things, various aspects of accounting fraud. He teaches “Taxes and Business Strategy” at Booth and has taught the course for the last twenty five years.

In addition to numerous articles published in a variety of top academic journals, Erickson is a coauthor of the widely used Taxes and Business Strategy textbook (currently in its 6th edition) and is the author/editor of the casebook, Cases in Tax Strategy. From 2005-2011, he served as a co-editor of the Journal of Accounting Research.

Over the course of his career, Erickson has consulted on complex GAAP and tax accounting issues (e.g., debt versus equity, various ASC 740 related issues, intercompany accounting and consolidation, employee stock option accounting, accounting for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures (e.g., spin-offs, leveraged partnerships, reverse Morris Trust transactions), restated financial statements, etc.) in a variety of contexts (e.g., bankruptcy, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, inversions, structured finance, investment planning, cross border and intercompany financing, partnership and LLC arrangements, tax sharing agreements, shareholder disputes, and various types of tax advantaged transactions). His clients have included, among others, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, Fortune 500 companies in various industries, international financial institutions, law firms, accounting firms, and individual taxpayers. He has also assisted corporations with SEC, IRS and whistleblower investigations. Erickson brings these real world experiences to his “Taxes Business Strategy” and executive education courses at Booth.

Prior to entering academia, he assisted the U.S. Government in its prosecution of the Lincoln Saving & Loan case. He subsequently published an academic article and teaching case relating to the audit failure associated with the Lincoln Saving & Loan case. That teaching case has been used by the Big 4 to train junior auditors. 

He has been given several awards from the American Taxation Association for his research and teaching. He has received the Outstanding Manuscript Award (twice) as well as an award for teaching innovation. In addition to teaching graduate students at Chicago Booth, Erickson has taught courses to Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, General Electric Capital Corporation, Baker McKenzie, Andersen Consulting, Accenture, CareerBuilder, and the IMCA (Investment Management Consultants Association) among others. He also was been named one of BusinessWeek's Outstanding Faculty at the University of Chicago.

Erickson earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Rockhurst College in 1987, an MBA in 1989 from Arizona State University, and a PhD in accounting from the University of Arizona in 1996. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1996.

In addition to his scholarly activities, Erickson is an avid fisherman. His angling pursuits have taken him from the pristine wilderness lakes of northern Canada to some of the remotest stretches of the Great Barrier Reef. He received the Angler Award from the Billfish Foundation in 2003 for releasing the most striped marlin worldwide that year.

Mon, 07 Nov 2022 14:57:00 -0600 en text/html

CFE study help | CFE Topics | CFE approach | CFE test prep | CFE education | CFE PDF Download | CFE test success | CFE learn | CFE study tips | CFE learner |

Killexams test Simulator
Killexams Questions and Answers
Killexams Exams List
Search Exams
CFE exam dump and training guide direct download
Training Exams List