Chartered Financial Consultant designatio

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Aug 28, 2006 1:49 pm

Do any of you have any input on the differences between the CHFC and CFP designations?  I understand that the CHFC is more common in the insurance industry, but has a similar curriculum to the CFP.


Thanks.

Aug 28, 2006 3:35 pm

The course work is basically the same. I think the CHFC requires a couple more courses than the CFP.

Aug 28, 2006 3:40 pm

Downtown is correct.  Usually, one would get their CLU followed by a ChFC.  The classes are identical to the CFP, except that there are three additional classes.  There is not a comprehensive final exam.

Aug 28, 2006 4:16 pm
anonymous:

Downtown is correct.  Usually, one would get their CLU followed by a ChFC.  The classes are identical to the CFP, except that there are three additional classes.  There is not a comprehensive final exam.


If the coursework is basically identical, why do you think the CFP is so much more highly regarded than the ChFc?

Aug 28, 2006 4:32 pm
anonymous:

Downtown is correct.  Usually, one would get their CLU followed by a ChFC.  The classes are identical to the CFP, except that there are three additional classes.  There is not a comprehensive final exam.

Aug 28, 2006 4:56 pm

"why do you think the CFP is so much more highly regarded than the ChFc?"


More highly regarded by whom? 


People who understand what both entail, don't agree with the above question.  The CFP does a better job of testing someone's test taking ability.  CLU/ChFC entails having to take more classes.


The truth is that very few of the public cares about either designation and even fewer know the difference.  The only one's who care are financial journalists (and we know that they don't know squat) and CFPs.


CFP has simply done a better job at marketing.


A ChFC is never going to lose business to a CFP simply because of the designation and the reverse is also true.

Aug 29, 2006 1:04 am

I got the CLU/ChFC/AAMS/CASL designations and got the most out of the

CLU classes. The Chartered Advisor for Senior Living is relatively new but

represented good coursework. The Accredited Asset Management Specialist

designation was basically financial planning by comic book...worthless. I am

studying for the CFP. I did in fact lose a client to a CFP. It was not because

he had a more recognizable designation, but that he held himself out as a

fiduciary...which I am not. I have a friend that wanted the CFP and took the

American College classes. As long as he had the tests done, he picked up

the ChFC and the CFP. In professional Canadian insurance circles the

preferred U.S.A. equivalent designations are LUTCF, CLU, CFP. In this country

the CFP marketers do a superior job of promoting their "brand". The ChFC

folks are late to the promo party but picking up the pace.

Aug 29, 2006 7:03 am

Good post.

Aug 29, 2006 8:43 am
anonymous:

"why do you think the CFP is so much more highly regarded than the ChFc?"


More highly regarded by whom? 


People who understand what both entail, don't agree with the above question. 


I understand what both entail and I do agree with the above question. Sliding through the classes is nothing, passing the comprehensive exam to prove that you can handle all the material is another matter altogether.




Aug 29, 2006 9:18 am

The CFP is harder to attain because of the comprehensive exam, but it does not make someone a better planner than a CLU/ChFC. 


Real world financial planning is open book.  We don't need to have all of the information memorized.  We just need to know where to find it.


CFP is better because there is a difficult comprehensive exam.
CLU/ChFC is better because there are more classes.


Clients don't know the difference and if they did care about credentials, they wouldn't care about which one someone had.

Aug 29, 2006 10:27 am

I think that the CFP does have substantial advantages over the other major designations with the exception of the CFA.


The CFP is frequently mentioned in the financial press and is discussed on both the SEC and the NASD website, where the ChFC or the other major designations are not mentioned.


At some point, the public will become aware that there are several designations that are very easy to earn and others that are very hard. The CIMA and the CFA are not in the same neighborhood.


The only reason that I feel the CFP doesn't have a substantial advantage over the CFA is because research analysts are increasingly having them and putting it after their name on firm publications. Eventually, everyone under 50 in research at any major house will have that designation.


I hold the CFA designation and plan to "challenge out" of the classes for the CFP and go straight to the test in November (you can do this if you have a CFA, but not vice versa). I took the CFA curriculum because it is harder, tends to be the designation that UHNW financial advisors hold out here (generally its John Smith, CFA, CFP(r) on their cards) and because I didn't want to structure my life around classes for the next eighteen months (I know that they have accelerated programs now.)


I suspect that in 10 years, not having a CFP putting yourself out as a financial advisor will be like being an accountant without a CPA. I suspect that over time, the other designations will whither away or consolidate. My firm pays for and bonuses around the CFP(they won't for the CFA because its too much work and is less applicable to general financial product sales), but it doesn't pay for the ChFC or any other designation. It seems to be generally supportive of the CIMA (what all of the old guys went and got when letters started to become important), but doesn't put real support behind it in any real way.


As increasing numbers of brokers earn the CFP and CFA, my guess is that they will also encourage public awareness. Once a critical mass start to earn it, my guess is that they will move towards having the designations enshrined somehow through regulation. I think it's possible that one will come to wish that they earned one of the more "mainstream" designations in the coming years.


In short, I think it does matter and I would recommend getting your CFP.

Aug 29, 2006 11:06 am

anonymous:

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The CFP is harder to attain because of the comprehensive exam, but it does not make someone a better planner than a CLU/ChFC. 


“Better planner” is a tough one to quantify. What I would say is that the CFP is vastly harder to attain, and that’s not because people fail the comprehensive exam at around the 50% rate because they fail to memorize the material, it’s because they’re required to use that material for the first time in a comprehensive manner.


anonymous:

CFP is better because there is a difficult comprehensive exam.
CLU/ChFC is better because there are more classes.


Again, my only problem with that is the underlying classes and exams are laughably easy and don’t denote an ability to actually use the material. They’re much more of a “check the box” sort of thing. The standard to earn the mark is too low.


anonymous:

 


Clients don't know the difference and if they did care about credentials, they wouldn't care about which one someone had.



I think that depends on what sort of clientele you deal with. It’s been my experience that clients associate CLU/ChFC with insurance salesmen, and it’s never a good thing to be associated with insurance salesmen in a client’s mind. That’s why after I took the additional courses from the <?:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />American College to get the ChFC I didn’t have it added to my business card.


 


(Nomex suit  donned)


Aug 29, 2006 11:28 am

"It’s been my experience that clients associate CLU/ChFC with insurance salesmen,"


You lose credibility when you make statements like this.  First of all, clients don't have a clue what a CLU/ChFC is.  Secondly, unless they are in the industry, why would they equate Chartered Financial Consultant with life insurance?  Finally, how the heck would this ever come up in conversation in the first place?


The CFP might have meaning in the future, but it doesn't have that much now.  I'm not arguing against it.  I think getting it might be a good idea.  As things stand today, however, it won't get you a client and not having it won't cost you a client.  It's not much better than an ABC designation.  The consumers don't know the difference.  You want clients?  Learn to prospect.  Learn to sell.

Aug 29, 2006 11:40 am
anonymous:

"It’s been my experience that clients associate CLU/ChFC with insurance salesmen,"


You lose credibility when you make statements like this.  First of all, clients don't have a clue what a CLU/ChFC is.  Secondly, unless they are in the industry, why would they equate Chartered Financial Consultant with life insurance?  Finally, how the heck would this ever come up in conversation in the first place?


The CFP might have meaning in the future, but it doesn't have that much now.  I'm not arguing against it.  I think getting it might be a good idea.  As things stand today, however, it won't get you a client and not having it won't cost you a client.  It's not much better than an ABC designation.  The consumers don't know the difference.  You want clients?  Learn to prospect.  Learn to sell.



You're painfully naive if you don't understand that educated and informed people do associate CLU and ChFC with life insurance salesmen.


If you're bright all you have to do is see the letters on a life insurance salesman's card once or twice and you can determine that those letters must have something to do with being a life insurance salesman.


Do you agree that most people would rather be administered an enema in public than spend an evening with a life insurance salesman?


Aug 29, 2006 11:52 am

NASD, why do you have to comment on things that you know nothing about?   You've never in your life had a conversation with a client about this.  Either have I.  I'm naive because in over a decade, the subject has never, ever been addressed by a client.


Aug 29, 2006 12:51 pm
anonymous:

"It’s been my experience that clients associate CLU/ChFC with insurance salesmen,"


You lose credibility when you make statements like this. 


If you say so. My experience has been that clients notice that the only place they've ever seen CLU/ChFC is after an insurance salesman's name.


anonymous:

The CFP might have meaning in the future, but it doesn't have that much now. 


It's funny how often you hear that from guys who don't have it. Again, I think it depends on who your client base is.

Aug 29, 2006 1:13 pm

People who are CFPs think that it is important because the CFP brings it up with the client and then the client says, "ooh that's nice".


Clients rarely bring it up and it's very easy for a ChFC to say, "I chose to take 3 additional classes to become a Chartered Financial Consultant instead."  Clients bring up the subject about once a month.  I explain that I am not a CFP because being a CFP doesn't allow me to do anything for my clients that I can't already do for them.  I then explain that I am affliliated with both a B/D and an RIA so we can choose whether to go the commission route, the fee route, or a combination based upon what is best for them.


If it matters, I will finish my CLU/ChFC material in the spring and I may or may not sit for the CFP.   The CFP will have to bring some value to the table.  The last thing that I need is another organization telling me what I can and cannot do with my practice.

Aug 29, 2006 1:37 pm

anonymous:

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People who are CFPs think that it is important because the CFP brings it up with the client and then the client says, "ooh that's nice".


You assume the CFP brings it up first, and that's just not my experience. The public is aware of what a CFP is and the kind of people I deal with are fully aware.


anonymous:

Clients rarely bring it up and it's very easy for a ChFC to say, "I chose to take 3 additional classes to become a Chartered Financial Consultant instead." 


I don't doubt that insurance guys do that. I was commenting on being an FA with what's often seen as an insurance guy designation behind it. I don't see that as a good thing. Should a client ever say to me "what's the diff between CFP and ChFC (and none ever have) I won't hesitate to point out the details, including the comprehensive exam and pass/fail rates.


anonymous:

Clients bring up the subject about once a month.  I explain that I am not a CFP because being a CFP doesn't allow me to do anything for my clients that I can't already do for them. 


You figure they buy that? If so, you have no reason to take the time for either a ChFC or a CFP designation since neither will "allow" to do anything aside from using their designation. If your clients are like mine they’ve been told often enough by various sources to seek out a CFP to know an excuse when they hear it


anonymous:

I then explain that I am affliliated with both a B/D and an RIA so we can choose whether to go the commission route, the fee route, or a combination based upon what is best for them.


That may work, but I suspect most will realize that just side-steps the issue of competency and demonstrated mastery of some of the more involved concepts and practices of wealth management.


anonymous:

If it matters, I will finish my CLU/ChFC material in the spring and I may or may not sit for the CFP.   The CFP will have to bring some value to the table.  The last thing that I need is another organization telling me what I can and cannot do with my practice.



Got a real example of the CFP board telling you what someone can or can't do in their practice? I've been a CFP for years now and I've yet to see it.


 


You know, this discussion reminds me of hearing non-Rangers talk about how earning the tab “doesn’t mean anything”. You never heard a guy who had it say that. 



Aug 29, 2006 2:11 pm

All of this, by and large, is off topic.  My point is that most people don't give a crap.  People do business with advisors primarily because they respect the person that gave the referral.  None of this other stuff matters.


Do you really think that successful business people think to themselves,  "USA Today says I need a CFP.  Money Magazine says I'm supposed to buy term and invest the difference. Consumer Reports says that I should wait to buy long term care insurance after I start to develop health issues.  Suze Orman says "people first, then things, then money".  I'll just follow their advice.  They no better than my attorney of the last 10 years who says I need to meet with MikeButler222 or NASDNewbie or San fran broker.


Whichever of the three of you who the attorney refers business  will get the business because of the respect that the client has for the attorney.  Your designations or lack of them mean nothing. 


Aug 29, 2006 2:13 pm

They know better.  I don't want the grammar police to spend their precious time going after me.