Value of CFP?

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Nov 29, 2008 12:23 pm

This is NOT a slam on those of us who have completed the amazingly arduous journey of attaining the CFP designation, as I am completely in awe of those who can do it and not lose their minds.  Very impressive, and I certainly appreciate the work and dedication that it takes to do that.  My question is this...other than impressing one another with that dedication to study and professional advancement, how much value does the CFP bring to your practice? 

 
In a market environment like we're currently experiencing, all the CFPs around me have gotten hammered just as hard as everyone else, so I don't know that there's any double-secret, CFP only asset allocation which may have performed any better.  Do those of you who are CFPs feel like you are any better equipped to construct portfolios?  If so, how so?
 
How about referrel sources?  Did those of you with the CFP see an immediate, measurable increase in referrels when you added CFP to your title?  I've never, NEVER had a client/prospect ask me, "Why don't you have CFP behind your name?"  I've got some of the internal AGE/RJ designations, so I've got a little alphabet on my business card, but to my knowledge, I've never NOT gotten a client because I didn't carry CFP designation.
 
My production has always been above any of the similarly tenured fc's in my office that were CFP, the exceptions being the increasingly irritating trend of female assistants getting their CFP while also inheriting their 78 y.o. retiring broker's 200mm book of C shares.  But that's another subject for another day....
 
So, to you guys that have earned the CFP, I salute you and appreciate the work and accomplishment.  My question is, how has it really helped?  And knowing what you know now, would you go through it all again?
 
 
Nov 29, 2008 12:29 pm

Well......nevermind. 

Nov 29, 2008 7:41 pm

How 'bout some more info on referral activity.  Did you CFP holders see much change for the better with referrals from CPAs or estate planning attorneys?

Nov 29, 2008 10:01 pm

Iceco1d said it right. I honestly havent spent time marketing the CFP proactively, but i can say that it has helped me speak to clients on a different level, and as a result, some of the referrals i've gotten since i started to speak to clients on that level, had to do with that. So I think it has helped me at least, indirectly.
I would add that for me at least, my primary reason for going for the CFP designation was just to do it for myself. Whether it helped me in my business or not, i take pride in having been able to do it, especially while growing my business at the same time. Of course, as Ice alluded to, not everyone has the balls to try. No disrespect meant to anyone at all who does not have it, only as Ice said, to those who bash it.
By the way, i dont intend to reply to, or even acknowledge the existence of,  extraneous comments on this thread.

Nov 29, 2008 10:48 pm

I don't know that it brings that many clients/prospects specifically because I have it, but I think it does help differentiate me in the minds of the general public.  I'm picking up an A client from Edward Jones (not quite a million, but substantial for me nevertheless), and comments he's made make me feel like it's helpful.  He views me as more of a professional than his Jones broker and feels like my practice is quite a bit more exclusive (which it is - I no longer take just anyone who walks in and I don't have a monthly bogey of new clients to hit any bonuses).  End result is, I'm taking fewer new clients these days, but the quality of those I'm getting is quite a bit higher.  Whether or not the CFP is at all responsible for this is open to debate, but I can't help but wonder if it's not helping, especially with how I'm viewed with the public.

 
As far as referrals go, I suspect my CPA designation is more valuable in that respect, although I know that most local CPAs refer to either me or the Edward Jones Broker who's been in town since Reagan was president, so obviously experience and staying power plays a major role also.  The longer you are in business and the better you take care of your clients and their CPA's and attorneys, the better your referral activity will be, IMO.
 
The CFP is great for the education component and I suspect it will be more recognized as time goes on, but for now, I wouldn't expect it to be the keys to the kingdom...more of a tool to take care of your clients and gain some respect in the eyes of those who recognize the designation.
Nov 29, 2008 10:51 pm

Well said, Indy

Nov 30, 2008 9:24 am
Sportsfreakbob:

Well said, Indy



Great post, Joe.

Nov 30, 2008 10:11 am
Hank Moody:

Well......nevermind. 

 
great post
Nov 30, 2008 1:06 pm
Hank Moody:
Sportsfreakbob:

Well said, Indy



Great post, Joe.



Nov 30, 2008 3:17 pm

Kudos to those who have it. My manager told me he woulf fire me if I started CFP classes in my first 4 years. He's been around a long time and I greatly respect his advice and him as a manager and person. I guess it's great to go for once you have a nice book.

Nov 30, 2008 4:21 pm

need 3 yrs exp anyway

Nov 30, 2008 4:39 pm
newnew:

need 3 yrs exp anyway



So long as you can satisfy the 3 years exp during a 5 year window after passing the exam, you're all good. 

So no need to fret doing the coursework/passing the exam before 3 years of experience.

Nov 30, 2008 5:56 pm
Gaddock:

Kudos to those who have it. My manager told me he woulf fire me if I started CFP classes in my first 4 years. He's been around a long time and I greatly respect his advice and him as a manager and person. I guess it's great to go for once you have a nice book.


Gaddock,
I agree with your manager. The first few years, it would take too much time away from prospecting. I was advised the same way, i didnt start the courses till my 7th year, afte i had built a base.

Nov 30, 2008 6:26 pm

It really depends what stage of life/career you're in. If you're in the first 5 years of prospecting and building your book of business, I think surviving in the industry would be more of a priority than getting any additional designations. The knowledge is definitely valuable, but the letters alone will not help you generate any additional revenue or bring in more clients.

 
However, the knowledge that comes with the designation does allow you to make better presentations, solve more complicated cases and take on full service financial planning. In my opinion, the CFP coursework is just ONE way of learning (and probably not even the most effective way) the information. All of this can be learned through self research and interacting with other professionals. But to say that the CFP designation is completely useless would not be a fair statement as ANY additional information/knowledge will in someway be useful to your book.
Nov 30, 2008 6:34 pm

Without stating it, some CPA's will only refer to CFP's. They respect the designation. How widespread that is, I don't know. But I know it's a fact to some degree.

Dec 1, 2008 9:46 pm

10yrs+ 100million AUM had the question asked once and never lost a sale/client because of it. All the knowledge in the world is useless if yu can't break it down into a language people understand. CFP's tend to speak jargon more than an other set of advisors I know cause they want to "impress" their prospects with their credentials!

Dec 3, 2008 4:21 pm

probably true

Dec 3, 2008 8:37 pm
Ferris Bueller:

Looked at a prospect statement today and the broker is a CFP, CLU. Client had 1.2M a year ago and now has 750K. Idiot CFP had him 100% in equities and the client is 1 year away from retirement.



I guess they are so busy teaching complicated things at CFP school that they forget the basics. I hope he sues this overeducated fool.



One can be smart enough and work hard enough to pass the test, but still lack the common sense to apply the knowledge.....

Or perhaps the prospect isn't giving you the whole story....maybe HE insisted on 100% equities....

Dec 3, 2008 8:48 pm

That would make a nice VA ticket.

Dec 3, 2008 8:58 pm
HymanRoth:
Ferris Bueller:

Looked at a prospect statement today and the broker is a CFP, CLU. Client had 1.2M a year ago and now has 750K. Idiot CFP had him 100% in equities and the client is 1 year away from retirement.



I guess they are so busy teaching complicated things at CFP school that they forget the basics. I hope he sues this overeducated fool.



One can be smart enough and work hard enough to pass the test, but still lack the common sense to apply the knowledge.....

Or perhaps the prospect isn't giving you the whole story....maybe HE insisted on 100% equities....


WHAT? A CLIENT INSISTING ON BEING MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN HE SHOULD BE, AND DISREGARDING THE BROKERS ADVICE? NEVER - I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING! IMPOSSIBLE.