Commonly Used Designations

Explanations of Common Investment Professional Designations

Certified Financial Planner, CFP:

The use of this designation indicates an individual dedicated to the idea of financial planning.  This designation is awarded after a rigorous 2 to 3 year program and a comprehensive final examination.  To check on an individual’s status and disciplinary history with the CFP Board of Standards go to:


Chartered Financial Consultant, ChFC:

This is another designation use by individuals practicing financial planning.  In order to check an individual’s ChFC status call the American College at (888) 263-7265.


Personal Financial Specialist, PFS:

The PFS designation is awarded only to Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) who practice financial planning.  The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants awards this designation. To verify someone's standing as a PFS, call 1-888-777-7077.


Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA:

The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts awards this designation to individuals who have completed an extremely comprehensive study of technical securities analysis.  The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts is extremely guarded in regard to inquiries about their members.  In order to check on an individual’s status please inform them that you intend to contact the Institute and ask for identifying information to ease the process. The Institute’s telephone number is (800) 247-8132.


Chartered Investment Counselor, CIC:

This designation is awarded by the Investment Counsel Association of America to individual investment advisor representatives of federally covered (which equates to large) investment advisor firms.  To confirm an individuals status call (202) 293-4222.


Didn't find it here?  Contact the Securities Division at 802-828-3420 or visit the FINRA Resource Page for more information concerning professional Designations.