Professional Certifications

Developed for every stage of your career, professional designations from College for Financial Planning®—a Kaplan Company equip you with the expertise to tackle complex financial issues, empower you to recommend solution-based strategies, strengthen your knowledge, and increase your confidence with clients.

Upon completion of this program, you will:

  • Understand ethical duties, the fiduciary standard, and the fundamentals of the major areas of financial planning.
  • Be able to increase productivity, build confidence, and be able to make recommendations based on building long-term client relationships.
  • Have a comprehensive review of financial issues that clients face, enabling you to understand and address the total financial picture of each.
  • Have learned real-life examples, figures, and tables, translating financial planning concepts into everyday work experience, making what you learn immediately applicable to your business.

Description

The Accredited Asset Management Specialist, or AAMS ®, is a designation program for financial professionals. Created in conjunction with many of the country’s top investment firms, AAMS ® is uniquely suited to the needs of today’s investment professionals. In this course you will discover a logical progression of topics, enabling you to think in terms of clients’ total financial situations, not just their investments. At the conclusion of your studies, your abilities to identify opportunities and employ strategies are enhanced not only with regard to investments but also related to planning for insurance, tax, retirement, and estate issues. The result is that you will be able to develop stronger, lasting client relationships. The program provides advisors with strong fundamental financial knowledge with an additional focus on asset management.

 

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered Topics covered throughout the AAMS ® program include:

  • The Asset Management Process
  • Risk, Return, & Investment Performance
  • Asset Allocation & Selection
  • Investment Strategies
  • Taxation of Investments
  • Investing for Retirement
  • Deferred Compensation & Other Benefit Plans
  • Insurance Products for Investment Clients
  • Estate Planning for Investment Clients
  • Fiduciary, Ethical, and Regulatory Issues for Advisors

Upon completion of this program, you will be able to:

  • Understand behavioral finance theories.
  • Integrate research and practical knowledge from the behavioral finance field.
  • Apply informed ideas within the client setting.
  • Demonstrate creative critical thinking of the nature, sources, consequences, and effective management of financial behavior in theory and practice.

Description

The Accredited Behavioral Finance Professional (ABFP) designation program is a unique graduate-level program for advanced financial planners. Blending classic foundational theory with academic experiments and real-life situations, students will learn to recognize and mitigate client financial behaviors. The ABFP program explores the field of behavioral finance: the study of psychological explanations for economic behavior exhibited by individuals, institutions, and nations. Behavioral science is an interdisciplinary body of knowledge with strong ties to the social sciences – psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science. The role of the scientific method in understanding and applying knowledge regarding topic areas provide the foundation for further exploration. This course is devoted to understanding the nature and role of psychological biases, heuristics, and emotions in influencing financial decision-making under uncertainty. Areas of decision-making behavior that will be thoroughly explored include economic theory, psychological perspectives, and applications to investments or lifetime retirement planning cash flows. This course provides financial advisors and investment professionals with the foundational knowledge of behavioral finance history, definitions, trends, and portfolio construction principles, and best practices for integrating behavioral finance theories into real-life situations. Upon graduation, ABFP designees earn 3 graduate-level academic credits that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree program.

 

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered Topics covered throughout the ABFP program include:

  • Understanding behavioral finance theories
  • Integrating research and practical knowledge from the behavioral finance field
  • Applying informed ideas within the client setting
  • Demonstrating creative critical thinking of the nature, sources, consequences, and effective management of financial behavior in theory and practice

Upon completion of this program, you will be able to:

  • Identify reasons individuals involved in a domestic partnership need alternative financial planning options.
  • Address specific situations in which wealth transfers, federal taxation laws, retirement laws and benefits, and planning for possible incompetence and end-of-life needs by such individuals is different than similar planning done for individuals who are recognized as legally married under federal and state laws.
  • Understand the purpose, nontax characteristics, and tax consequences of financial planning techniques commonly used in these areas, and their advantages and disadvantages, for individuals involved in domestic partnerships.
  • Apply specific financial planning techniques that benefit individuals involved in a domestic partnership, and help compensate for the adverse effects of financial laws or benefits that are either unavailable to such individuals or provide less protection to them.

Description

The Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor, or ADPA® program, is the only designation program of its kind that prepares financial professionals to address the unique planning needs specific to unmarried, coupled persons. You’ll gain an understanding of how planning differences for domestic partners compared to legally married couples manifest themselves in the individual domains of financial planning. Your skills, augmented with knowledge from this up-to-date program, will help you analyze and evaluate alternative planning techniques pertaining to wealth transfers, federal taxation laws, retirement laws and benefits, and planning for end-of-life needs. This program is ideal for advisors looking to augment their skills and knowledge to effectively counsel clients in domestic partnerships and help compensate for the adverse effects of financial laws or benefits that are either unavailable or provide less protection to them. It is also beneficial for accountants and attorneys who provide tax and legal services for persons in domestic partnerships.

 

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered Topics covered in the ADPA® program include, but are not limited to:

  • Wealth Transfers for Domestic Partners
  • Federal Taxation Issues for Domestic Partners
  • Retirement Planning and Relationship Issues for Domestic Partners
  • Planning for Financial, Medical, and End-of-Life Needs of Domestic Partners
  • Qualitative Planning Considerations

Upon completion of this program, you will be able to:

  • Understand investment principles and theory.
  • Understand characteristics and risks of various asset classes and investment vehicles including real assets and alternative investments.
  • Understand approaches to asset allocation.
  • Understand ethical duties and the fiduciary standard.
  • Understand the taxation of various types of investments.
  • Understand investment and retirement planning issues.
  • Understand factors pertaining to client suitability.
  • Understand the purpose of and elements in an investment policy statement.

Description

The Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor, or APMA® program, is a graduate-level designation program for experienced financial professionals. The program covers the finer points of portfolio creation, augmentation, and maintenance. Students gain hands-on practice in analyzing investment policy statements, building portfolios, and making asset allocation decisions, to include determining sell, hold, and buy decisions within a client’s portfolio. Upon successful completion of the Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor course, 3 graduate-level academic credits will be earned that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree program.

 

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered Topics covered in the APMA® program include, but are not limited to:

  • Investment Risk and Return Analysis
  • Modern Portfolio Theory and Performance Evaluation of Equities
  • Debt and Fixed-Income Features
  • Debt and Fixed-Income Valuation and Analysis
  • Mutual Funds and Other Pooled Investments
  • Investing in Real Assets
  • Derivatives and Structured Products
  • Taxation of Investments and the Regulatory Environment
  • Ethical Considerations, Investment Strategies, and Retirement Needs Analysis
  • Behavioral Finance, Client Suitability, and Constructing Portfolios

Upon completion of this program, you will be able to:

  • Identify and plan for the complex needs of high-net-worth clients.
  • Increase productivity, build confidence and be able to make recommendations based on building long-term client relationships with high-net-worth clients.
  • Understand the comprehensive view of financial issues that clients face, enabling you to understand and address the total financial picture of each.
  • Apply real-life examples, figures, and tables, translating financial planning concepts into everyday work experience, making what you learn immediately applicable to your business.
  • Identify risk management issues with a significant potential impact for high-net-worth individuals.
  • Identify insurance products targeted to high-net-worth individuals.
  • Identify or explain the purposes (uses), characteristics, and factors to be considered in using a given business exit planning technique.
  • Identify characteristics, risks, styles, and strategies of hedge funds, real estate investments, and private equity.
  • Identify and help clients to overcome the behavioral biases that lead to suboptimal results for many investors.
  • Identify tax preference items or adjustments for the alternative minimum tax for noncorporate taxpayers.
  • Analyze a situation to determine the necessity of estimated tax payments or to calculate the amount of investment interest expense that is deductible.
  • Analyze a situation to calculate the self-employment tax or alternative minimum tax for noncorporate taxpayers.
  • Identify and explain the advantages or disadvantages of various forms of nonqualified deferred compensation.
  • Identify or explain the advantages or disadvantages of lifetime gifting.
  • Identify or explain the purposes (uses), characteristics, and factors to be considered in using a given asset protection technique for a high-net-worth client.
  • Analyze the current regulatory requirements of advisers and brokers including Regulation Best Interest and identify expectations of fiduciary advisers.

Description

The AWMA® program is a designation program designed for experienced advisors who want to better address the unique needs of high-net-worth clients. The program’s one-of-a-kind curriculum contains sections dedicated to behavioral finance, working with all business owners, and succession/exit planning. There is also an entire module specifically dedicated to the fiduciary and regulatory issues facing advisors. With this designation in your arsenal of knowledge, you’ll be able to help clients capitalize on opportunities to preserve, grow, and transfer their wealth. Gain the confidence to optimize clients’ investments to achieve their goals while minimizing investment volatility. Upon successful completion of the Accredited Wealth Management Advisor course, 3 graduate-level academic credits will be earned that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree program.

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered Topics covered in the AWMA® program include, but are not limited to:

  • Getting to know your High-Net-Worth client
  • Investment Risk, Return, and Performance
  • Advanced Investment Products & Strategies
  • Considerations for Business Owners
  • Income Tax Strategies for High-Net-Worth Clients
  • Executive Benefits Planning for High-Net-Worth Clients
  • Estate Planning for High-Net-Worth clients
  • Fiduciary and Regulatory Issues for Financial Services Professionals

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Gain practical knowledge and a competitive edge by strengthening technical skills in an evolving planning niche.
  • Acquire skills needed to expand your business by meeting more of your clients’ needs.
  • Address an array of client situations using the various types of plans and models studied.

Description

The CRPC ® designation program is for experienced financial advisors who wish to offer more comprehensive retirement advice to individual clients. Financial advisors face an increasingly complex onslaught of retirement planning questions as aging baby boomers look for investments to meet their lifestyle needs in 10 years, 20 years, and beyond, as well as determining when they can actually retire. This program will help you define a “road map to retirement,” enabling you to focus on clients’ pre-and post-retirement needs, as well as issues related to asset management and estate planning. Upon successful completion of the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor program, 3 graduate-level academic credits will be earned that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree program.

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered:

  • Maximizing the Client Experience During the Retirement Planning Process
  • Principles and Strategies When Investing for Retirement
  • Making the Most of Social Security Retirement Benefits
  • Bridging the Income Gap: Identifying Other Sources of Retirement Income
  • Navigating Health Care Options in Retirement
  • Making the Emotional and Financial Transition to Retirement
  • Designing Optimal Retirement Income Stream
  • Achieving Income Tax and Estate Planning Objectives in Retirement
  • Fiduciary, Ethical, and Regulatory Issues for Advisors

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Gain practical knowledge and a competitive edge by strengthening technical skills in an evolving planning niche.
  • Acquire skills needed to expand your business by meeting more of your clients’ needs.
  • Address an array of client situations using the various types of plans and models studied

Description

As retirement plan options evolve and tax complexities increase, many companies seek professional plan administrators to design, install, and maintain their company retirement plans. Firms of all sizes recognize the unique skills needed to implement and oversee these internal retirement plans—skills within your reach with the CRPS® designation. Your CRPS ® mark will set you apart from other advisors with the knowledge to recommend implementation techniques that can be executed into well-structured, company-appropriate retirement plans. Plus, you’ll be able to effectively administer retirement plans for businesses and their employees. Upon successful completion of the Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist program, 3 graduate-level academic credits will be earned that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree program.

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered:

  • Introduction to ERISA and the Fiduciary Standard
  • Employer-Funded Defined Contribution Plans
  • Participant-Directed Retirement Plans
  • Retirement Plan Solutions for small Business Owners
  • Retirement Plan Selection, Design, and Implementation
  • Administering ERISA-Compliant Plans
  • Working with Participants

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the origins and notable vocabulary related to SRI and ESG
  • Understand the role and importance of SRI investing for global climate issues
  • Understand characteristics and risks of various ESG asset classes and investment vehicles including real assets and alternative investments
  • Understand approaches to ESG in the equity selection process
  • Understand the fundamentals of shareholder advocacy and corporate responsibility and their importance in impact investing
  • Understand how to calculate and use risk and performance metrics to evaluate securities and portfolios
  • Understand how to identify current and future trends in various SRI reports
  • Understand factors pertaining to client suitability
  • Understand the purpose of and elements in an SRI investment policy statement

Description

The Chartered SRI Counselor, or CSRIC ®, is a unique graduate-level program for advanced financial planners that provides a blend of foundational knowledge and scenario learning to work with sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investments for a variety of clients. The CSRIC® program provides financial advisors and investment professionals with a foundational knowledge of the history, definitions, trends, portfolio construction principles, fiduciary responsibilities, and best practices for sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investments.

  • The CSRIC® designation is the first and only major financial credential dedicated specifically to SRI and is encouraged by the top financial firms.
  • This course was developed in partnership with US SIF, The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment – the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible, and impact investing across all asset classes in the United States.

Upon successful completion of the Chartered SRI Counselor program, 3 graduate-level academic credits will be earned that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree program.

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered Topics covered in the CSRIC ® program include, but are not limited to:

  • The Foundations and History of SRI
  • Approaches to SRI
  • Shareholder Advocacy, Community Investing, and Corporate Responsibility
  • Portfolio Construction and Incorporating SRI into Financial Advising
  • ESG Performance, Risk, and Rating Metrics
  • The Fiduciary Standard and Communicating the Value of SRI
  • Current and Future Opportunities

Upon completion of this course, you will:

  • Understand the fundamental concepts and terminology of financial planning;
  • Have worked through a “real world” case study that applied many important concepts related to financial planning;
  • Have a higher competence of financial planning concepts, allowing your company to benefit from improved client support provided by you due to your increased knowledge and skills; and
  • Gain an edge on the sales competition by increasing your understanding of a broad range of financial topics, making you more aware of potential sales opportunities

Description

The Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional, or FPQP ® designation program, is the perfect introduction to personal financial planning for those with no prior experience. The program covers the six main facets in personal financial planning, but in a way better suited to practical rather than a professional application. The program is an ideal starting point for those new to the financial planning profession, individuals interested in a better understanding of their own finances, or for planners who wish to provide their support staff with additional insights.

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered:

  • The Financial Planning Process
  • Business Ownership, Cash Management, and the Use of Debt
  • The Time Value of Money
  • Insurance Basics & Property Insurance
  • Life & Health Insurance
  • Investment Basics & Strategies
  • Retirement Planning
  • Tax Implications of Financial Decisions
  • Estate Planning Basics
  • Case Study & Master Index

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and plan for the complex needs of high-net-worth clients
  • Increase productivity, build confidence, and be able to make recommendations based on building long-term client relationships with high-net-worth clients
  • Have a comprehensive view of financial issues that clients face, enabling you to understand and address the total financial picture of each
  • Translate financial planning concepts into everyday work experience, making what you learn immediately applicable to your business
  • Identify risk management issues with significant potential impact for high-net-worth individuals
  • Identify insurance products targeted to high-net-worth individuals
  • Identify or explain the purposes (uses), characteristics, and factors to be considered in using a given business exit planning technique
  • Identify characteristics, risks, styles, and strategies of hedge funds or fund of hedge funds, real estate investments, and private equity
  • Identify and help clients overcome the behavioral biases that lead to suboptimal results
  • Identify tax preference items or adjustments for the alternative minimum tax for non-corporate taxpayers
  • Analyze a situation to determine the necessity of estimated tax payments or to calculate the amount of investment interest expense that is deductible
  • Analyze a situation to calculate the self-employment tax or alternative minimum tax for non-corporate taxpayers
  • Identify and explain advantages or disadvantages of various forms of non-qualified deferred compensation
  • Identify or explain advantages or disadvantages of lifetime gifting
  • Identify or explain the purposes (uses), characteristics, and factors to be considered in using a given asset protection technique for a high-net-worth client
  • Understand the special issues, key people, and challenges of working with athletes and entertainers
  • Analyze the qualitative planning strategies available to athletes and entertainers
  • Evaluate labor unions and their respective employee and retirement benefits available to athletes and entertainers
  • Analyze the special cash flow and taxation circumstances as they relate to athletes and entertainers
  • Analyze the business planning strategies available to athletes and entertainers
  • Evaluate the estate planning strategies available to athletes and entertainers

Description

The Sports & Entertainment Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM, or SE-AWMASM, designation program provides advisors with the specialized knowledge to help high-net-worth clients in sports and entertainment capitalize on opportunities to preserve, grow, and transfer their wealth. Your skills, augmented with knowledge gained from this program, will help you analyze and evaluate different planning strategies, including qualitative planning, trusts, investments, employee and retirement benefits, cash flow and tax planning, business planning, and estate planning. Upon successful completion of the SE-AWMASM course, three graduate-level academic credits will be earned that can be applied to the Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning degree program.

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered in the SE-AWMASM program include, but are not limited to:

  • Getting to Know Your High-Net-Worth Client
  • Investment Risk, Return, and Performance
  •  Advanced Investment Products and Strategies
  • Considerations for Business Owners
  • Income Tax Planning for High-Net-Worth Clients
  • Executive Benefits Planning for High-Net-Worth Clients
  • Estate Planning for High-Net-Worth Clients
  • Fiduciary and Regulatory Issues for Financial Services Professionals
  • Special Issues for Athletes and Entertainers

Upon completion of this program, you should be able to understand the basics of the various financial planning subject areas.

Specifically, you will:

  • Understand the core financial planning subjects of insurance, investment, retirement, income tax, and estate tax planning.
  • Understand education funding options.
  • Understand credit and lending options available to clients.
  • Understand the time value of money and how to use an HP 10bII+ financial calculator.

Description

The Wealth Management Specialist (WMS) program equips your staff with a substantial overview of the most critical concepts in financial planning and wealth management without the rigors of the CFP ® certification or a more comprehensive professional designation.

Learning Objectives and Topics Covered:

  • Fundamental Considerations in the Wealth Management Process
  • Time Value of Money Principles
  • Measurement of Risk and Return
  • The Asset Allocation Process
  • Investment Strategies
  • Tax Implications and Strategies in the Financial Planning Process
  • Credit and Lending
  • Insurance Products in Wealth Management
  • Education Funding
  • Business Ownership and Planning
  • Retirement Planning Considerations
  • Equity Compensation
  • Estate Planning

Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow or LUTCF®

The Life Underwriter Training Council FellowSM professional designation program is not currently accepting new students.

The Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow, or LUTCF ®, is a three-course professional designation program for new insurance and financial professionals. The College for Financial Planning ®—a Kaplan Company and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) partnered in 2014 to create a program that focused on the skills that the top insurance agencies felt new agents needed most. The program focuses on fundamental prospecting, selling, and practice management skills, plus a working knowledge of the four practice specialties. Successful completion of the three courses allows you to join more than 65,000 successful LUTCF® designation holders.

This first of three courses in the LUTCF ® program introduces you to risk management and the role it plays in the larger financial planning process, and specifically focuses on the role life insurance plays in risk management. We will begin with the fundamentals of being a business owner by discussing how to write a business plan and ethics as they apply to the insurance and financial services profession. We will then delve into the various life insurance products before diving into prospecting and selling skills that will give you a foundation upon which you can build your practice.

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to the LUTCF® Program
  • Chapter 2: Developing a Business Plan
  • Chapter 3: Financial Planning and Risk Management
  • Chapter 4: Ethics
  • Chapter 5: Introduction to Life Insurance Products
  • Chapter 6: Prospecting for Life Insurance
  • Chapter 7: Life Insurance Selling Skills

Description

The Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow, or LUTCF ®, is a three-course professional designation program for new insurance and financial professionals. The College for Financial Planning ®—a Kaplan Company and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) partnered in 2014 to create a program that focused on the skills that the top insurance agencies felt new agents needed most. The program focuses on fundamental prospecting, selling, and practice management skills, plus a working knowledge of the four practice specialties. Successful completion of the three courses allows you to join more than 65,000 successful LUTCF ® designation holders.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to understand the various insurance and investment products that advisors who are relatively new to the industry need to be aware of and how they can protect clients as well as help them reach their desired financial goals.

Specifically, you will:

  • Understand the differences and similarities between life insurance and annuities.
  • Understand the differences and similarities between annuities and mutual funds.
  • Understand disability income, long-term care, property and casualty, and health insurance and how they can be used to help manage risk.
  • Understand employer-based benefits and retirement plans.

Description

This first of three courses in the LUTCF ® program introduces you to risk management and the role it plays in the larger financial planning process, and specifically focuses on the role life insurance plays in risk management. We will begin with the fundamentals of being a business owner by discussing how to write a business plan and ethics as they apply to the insurance and financial services profession. We will then delve into the various life insurance products before diving into prospecting and selling skills that will give you a foundation upon which you can build your practice.

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to the LUTCF® Program
  • Chapter 2: Developing a Business Plan
  • Chapter 3: Financial Planning and Risk Management
  • Chapter 4: Ethics
  • Chapter 5: Introduction to Life Insurance Products
  • Chapter 6: Prospecting for Life Insurance
  • Chapter 7: Life Insurance Selling Skills

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to analyze, evaluate, and calculate retirement and estate planning needs and goals for individuals, families, and business owners, and recommend and explain solutions designed to accomplish these goals.

Specifically, you will:

  • Evaluate and calculate retirement planning needs and goals and analyze retirement planning solutions while explaining how they help clients reach their goals.
  • Evaluate and prioritize estate planning needs and goals and explain strategies clients can employ to reduce estate taxes.
  • Identify, recommend, and explain how solutions developed to apply to individuals, families, and business owners.
  • Analyze a case study and recommend appropriate solutions for an individual, a family, and a business owner.

Description

In this third and final Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF®) course, we will shift our focus from specific products to how the products you’ve learned about can be used in various applications. We will cover Retirement Planning and Estate Planning in the first two weeks and then spend the next four weeks discussing applications for individuals and business owners using various scenarios you are likely to run into in your practice. Finally, we end the course with case studies for individuals, families, and business owners.

Chapter 1: Retirement Planning

Chapter 2: Estate Planning

Chapter 3: Applications for Individuals

Chapter 4: Special Family Situations

Chapter 5: Applications for Business Owners

Chapter 6: Individual Client Scenario

Chapter 7: Business Owner Scenario