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May 31, 2008 7:36 pm

I was curious, how do you obtain the CRPC designation?  I am currently going after my CFP but I believe the CRPC would look good with the CFP.  Thanks for any advice.

May 31, 2008 8:33 pm

CRPC - Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor - the course is given by the College of Financial Planning.  They will give you the course online i think its $750, then test you.

  Its a small slice of the CFP. If you get your CFP you wont need this.
May 31, 2008 10:48 pm

That is what I thought.  Thanks for your input.  Other than the CFP, what is another good designation to earn next to your name?  (Please don’t mention the CFA because there is no way I can pass that sucker).

Jun 1, 2008 1:17 am

One idea is to choose a designation to show a “specialty” in financial planning.

Such as: 
 - CLU (Life Insurance specialty)
 - CASL (retirement designation from The American College;
 - ChFC (2-3 additional courses for another financial planning designation)
 - CIMA (from Investment Management Consultants Association; it’s EXPENSIVE though;
 - AEP (Estate Planning designation; courses from The American College, awarded by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils;
 - EA (Enrolled Agent; to represent taxpayers to the IRS; this can be a GREAT asset for your clients; do a google search for information.)

One designation you can get RIGHT NOW is the RFC.  The RFC is awarded to those who have demonstrated 10 core requirements:  Experience (4 years), Examination, Education, Licensing, Integrity, Ethics, Continuing Education (40 hours per YEAR), Ethics CE, Compliance & Plan writing capacity.

Check out the link below about the IARFC and the RFC designation.  I look at it as a commitment for higher levels of continuing education.

While I’m a big fan of the RFC, I would pursue the EA designation first.  You couldn’t be a “practicing” EA or hold yourself out to the public to offer tax advice (or get reimbursement from your firm for your study).  But the certification would be a huge indirect asset to you and your practice.

You might be able to do an asterisk like EA* with a disclosure to say “Licensed, Non-Practicing” on the back or something.

Note:  I’m personally not a fan of the designations from the College for Financial Planning.  Any designation that can be achieved with ONE exam is equal to ONE course from The American College.  Therefore the caliber of the designation isn’t as rigorous as others.  I know that there are other “3-day” designations that aren’t worth much too.  It is just my opinion.  Please take it as such.  My opinion also holds for designations offered by the Institute of Business & Finance.

Jun 1, 2008 11:46 am

Zippy, choose designations for the knowledge that they give you and not the letters after your name.  It is the knowledge and the confidence that the knowledge gives to you that really makes a difference.

Oct 18, 2008 8:48 pm

Check out the CAIA - chartered alternative investment analyst. There’s only about 2000 holders world wide, virtually none in retail FA’s, most are in NY and SF / Boston / Chicago and work in institutional areas. It’s a two level exam, taken over a 2 yr period, very quantitative, financial engineering stuff.  

Oct 18, 2008 10:41 pm

My answer to this is nothing. I always think it seems like overkill when someone has an alphabet soup after their name of designations the public doesn’t understand without explanation. If you’re able to add Esq, CPA, or something that is RECOGNIZABLE TO A LAYMAN then great, but if you have on your card Joe Blow, CFP, CRFC, ChFC, CIMA then you’ve basically confused a potential buyer, likely rendering them a non-buyer.

Oct 18, 2008 10:49 pm

Letters after your name don’t confuse people.

  PEOPLE confuse people.   Our business is a business of communication.  I don't expect my business card to communicate much - except my name and phone numbers.   People don't (shouldn't) do business with you because you have letters & certifications.   They should do business with you because of YOU.   That doesn't mean you shouldn't get the certifications, just don't expect your clients to buy your CFP from you.  They will buy YOU and your recommendations, not your CFP.
Oct 19, 2008 3:26 am

come on guys – the credentials are to impress each other, not the clueless clients

Oct 19, 2008 11:37 am

You mean you might open an account with me? If not, why does it matter?

This reminds me of a time my father met a doctor who introduced himself “Joe Blow, MD” to which my father replied “Joe X, GED.”

Oct 20, 2008 1:25 pm

The public has been conditioned that the CFP is the only recognized designation for our profession.  Now, if you were a CPA, that’s a different ball of wax.  But all the ChFC, CLu, CIMA, CASL, CRPC, etc. designations are mearly letters to clients.  The CFA is much harder than most of the financial planning designations, but most clients aren’t familiar with it.  Not that any of the “true” designations are useless.  Most require some level of knowledge to complete.  But strictly from a client perspective - CPA, CFP, Esq. are the only meaningful designations.

Oct 20, 2008 4:11 pm

Why is it that everytime I see “Esq”, I only think of “Bill S. Preston, Esq.”?

Oct 20, 2008 11:09 pm

As an advisor that has a good amount of retirement plans I went ahead and got the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) because it relates to my business and is beneficial.  If you are going to be doing any work with endowements, or corporate retirement plans it is very helpful.