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Feb 23, 2006 1:32 am

So I’ve decided I’m going to get the CFA instead of the CFP.  I feel like CFP’s are becoming a little too common, and IMO based on my research your study is a mile wide and a foot deep (very broad). 

I think the CFA being more specialized might be more to my tastes and also would open doors IF I ever wanted to leave the wonderful world of retail…

Any thoughts?

Feb 23, 2006 1:50 am

Why would you ever leave the retail world?

Feb 23, 2006 1:53 am

I would give this alot of thought.  Despite what many people say
out here, the CFP, it is a very valuable designation.  Especially
if you are going to service the retain market.  Forget about the
"I have never had anyone ask me…" crap.  The fact is your will
learn a great deal that will be useful to you and your clients. 
Nad clients are aware of it and many seek it…they just avoid those
that do not have it, so they never ask EZ if he has it (sorry EZ- just
using you as an example).

The CFA is far less recognizable to the retail base you may be serving,
and even less useful.  The ability to recognize how to do year end
planning to avoid AMT for a client exercising stock options (a CFP
basic) is far more useful than having the ability to break apart
financials and plug in ratios and formulas (a CFA basic).

The CFA is a very intense 3 year committment that absolutely sucks…and that is being polite.  It is really hard. 

For effort/usefulness efficiency perhaps a CFP/CIMA combination will
give you some well rounded knowledge, and certifications to pursue just
about everyone.

Feb 23, 2006 1:56 am

After reviewing your post, I see you want to leave the retail
world.  If you are serious about that, do your homework on
it…trust me.  If you want to leave, get the CFA.

For real good retail reps- 10 years of hard work, you are making high 6
figures and working 40-50 hours with 5 weeks vacation.  Are you

Feb 23, 2006 3:15 am

I'll share a story about a new client.  He came in to see what we offer, started chatting about his situation.  He told me of his desire to unload some real estate but was concerned because his gains were close to a million dollars.  On the spot, I was able to give him 3 solutions, I learned that kind of stuff while getting my CFP. 

Fast forward - Not only did we transfer his 2 million dollar Merrill account the next week my phone rang, it was one of his pals who has a 10 milllion dollar apartment complex he wants to do the same thing with - still working on that one...

Feb 23, 2006 1:07 pm

what were your three solutions?

Feb 23, 2006 1:11 pm

I would think an analyst job would be kinda boring, alot of hours, alot of travel. Not good for the family life. I’m sure they make good money but that’s not what I’m all about.

Feb 23, 2006 1:56 pm

Rightway (and others),

I appreciate your posts!  I didn't say (nor intend to insinuate) I want to leave retail.  I simply am looking at my options, and what my options will be in the future.  I am not old, I am very good at what I do (since you asked), and I defintely could see myself in the retail situation you described (high 6 figures, 40 hours a week, 5 weeks vacation, etc).

What I am not content to do, and by no means do I mean this in a derogatory way, is follow the "herd mentality" when it comes to the CFP.  It seems SO MANY folks are getting it these days that sooner or later it will be a fairly common designation.  ML is requiring EVERY one of there advisors to get it (and now I'm sure MS will follow suit), and many will have the CFP before they will have a real chance to use it (a sizable book).

So in the hope of differentiating myself was the motivation for looking at the CFA.  You guys make some very valid points, and I think I need to give this further review.  The CIMA/CFP sounds great!


Feb 24, 2006 12:36 am


Private annuity, CRT or structured settlement.  He could also do a 1031-721 but doesn't allow him to diversify out of real estate.

I favor the CRT, using the CRUT for it's annual revaluation rather than the CRAT that way we can keep the income stream growing with inflation.

Feb 24, 2006 1:54 am

So you don't think I understand these terms that you rarely use in your practice. That's the problem with the cfp, it's very broad and general in nature. But I'm sure it's a challenge for a high school drop out, or GRD taker. Loser.......................

Feb 24, 2006 2:42 am

EZ I am not saying you don't know the material the average advisor doesn't.  I didn't before I took the CFP courses, now I am fluent and better able to help my clients and I am making more money because of my knowledge (as seen with the above e.g) I'll call both of thoe positives.

I am not saying someone cannot be successful or knowledgable but to raise the bar of our profession wouldn't it be nice if everyone had the knowledge to advise people in similar situations.  His Merril broker told him, call me when you get a check.  $150,000 -$300,000 (CG and depr. recapture) saved because I educated myself and a client for life.

I support higher standards to call yourself an advisor be it the CFP, a degree in financial planning or some other form of licensure.  The CFP/FPA are the only people pushing hard for this.  

Feb 25, 2006 1:18 am

ML does not require all of their reps get the CFP designation. 

EZ- I don’t think you would pass the CFP now, and I dont think you
would get through the classes.   Not because you are not
smart enough, but because it requires a committment that you could not
live up to.  You see, this is what the designation is about. 
It is not about knowing what a CRT or the tax ramifications of a Non
Qual ISO, but rather the willingness to committ to knowledge instead of
selling sh*t at the bank…then complaining about the master of the
spoon that is feeding your lazy ass.

Feb 25, 2006 1:33 pm


You are correct in that I just don't have the committment to do it now. I need to get my ducks in a row and then maybe I'll tackle it in a couple years. I really want to see where this new sec rule for plannners is going, and if the cfp will pick up steam in recognition. I don't see it yet.

Feb 26, 2006 2:02 am

It's significant to point out that:

1. CFA holders can "test out" of the CFP - no classes.

2. The CFA institute is positively buried in money from the extremely expensive fees it charges and it is now advertising heavily in high end news publications

3. The CFA is the now the standard designation in most high-end money management boutiques that cater to UHNW (at least in my area).

4. The CFA focusses about 1/3 of the curriculum on private wealth issues

5. The CFA institue intends to make the CFA the premier wealth management designation and plans to initiate ad campaigns in the coming years aimed at the mass affluent.

I say get both teh CFA and the CFP

Feb 26, 2006 12:41 pm

I have both, and I did the CFA first.  There is no way I would
have been able to pass the final CFP test has I not taken the
classes…albiet I did an abreviated program.  Everything San Fran
says is true, true true!  However, from a practical standpoint,
the CFP gives you far more knowledge for day-to-day issues relating to
clients…allowing you to better serve and attract.  Getting both
cannot possibly be a bad thing, as long as you have the time and
dedication…becasue they both require alot of it. 

Feb 26, 2006 10:46 pm

I disaagree. The CFA is a totally different career.

Feb 27, 2006 11:37 am

[quote=ezmoney]I disaagree. The CFA is a totally different career.[/quote]

EZ-  I work on a team where we market to to 2 segments:
Individuals with a net worth of at least $1 million and willing to
initially have us manage a minimum of $250k,  and Foundations and
Charitable assets where the minimum is well over $1 million. 
These two markets are very diferent and we excel  in both. 
The individulars benefit from our CFP knowledge, period.  The
Foundations benefit from our CFA work.  In fact, we consistantly
win business of both the foundations and the individual board members
(where we use our CFP work). 

These are different markets, not different carreers.  Go buy the book “Thinking Big”.

Feb 27, 2006 3:09 pm


ML DOES require every new advisor to get the CFP.  It's part of POA.