The ChFC: A Powerful and Comprehensive Financial Designation

The ChFC: A Powerful and Comprehensive Financial Designation

The American College of Financial Services
June 9, 2016

Advisors interested in obtaining a truly comprehensive financial planning skill set should consider becoming a Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®). The ChFC® is an advanced financial designation offering significant advantages for both the advisor and his or her clients. With a focus on high ethical standards, the ChFC® can help you avoid costly, embarrassing, or tragic compliance issues.

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In fact, 81.4 percent of compliance issues come from advisors who do not hold a ChFC®. Possessing a ChFC® demonstrates to the entire financial community that you are dedicated to the absolute highest level of commitment to your clients. Pursuing your ChFC® designation with expertly designed financial planning courses yields a host of advantages for a financial advisor’s practice.  Here are three of the most important:

1) Higher Income Potential

One of the most pragmatic reasons to earn your ChFC® is that it improves your overall income potential as an advisor. Rigorous financial planning courses equip you with specialized knowledge in key areas so you can provide unparalleled service to each client and earn a reputation for success you’ll leverage to land new clients. These courses provide comprehensive knowledge in areas such as income taxation, insurance, investments, retirement planning, and estate planning, education you’ll showcase to differentiate in a competitive industry.

With the ChFC® letters behind your name you’ll be able to differentiate yourself in a competitive industry. Clients and prospects will see your dedication to their personal welfare and success, increasing your chances of attracting more new clients, retaining existing ones and becoming a top earner in your field.

2) Improved Commitment to Clients

Becoming a Chartered Financial Consultant® involves taking the Professional Pledge, which reads:

"In all my professional relationships, I pledge myself to the following rule of ethical conduct: I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself."

This commitment to a fiduciary duty shows your prospective and existing clients that you will always place their needs above your own. In a world where clients must choose between working with independent advisors, large brokerage firms or even no advisor at all, your willingness to hold sacred the best interest of your clients will help you gain a competitive advantage and secure a book of business that trusts you, depends on your expertise, and sticks around for the long term.

3) Better Prepared for DOL Fiduciary Changes

While putting clients first is the implied responsibility of every advisor, the new DOL Conflict of Interest Rule has now made it a requirement for every financial planner offering retirement planning advice. The Labor Department issued regulations in April of 2016 requiring financial advisors and brokers advising IRA,  401(k), and other retirement accounts to act under a fiduciary standard of care.

While this ruling is a triumph for clients, some advisors could be unprepared for changes to their business as professional obligation shifts away from suitability and toward fiduciary duty.  Advisors are now required to not only act and serve in a manner that’s fair but also in the best interest of the client despite or in lieu of their own personal outcome. However, the financial advisors who have earned their ChFC®, taken the Professional Pledge, and received specialized instruction in putting the client first will be ready for the changes ahead. While some advisors will scramble after these changing regulations, those with a ChFC® will be standing firm.

Top earning income status, elevated commitment to clients, comprehensive education and regulatory preparation are only a few ways the ChFC® will make you a more successful financial planner. To discover how an advanced designation like the ChFC® can help you succeed please read the complimentary guide, 6 Ways an Advanced Financial Designation Helps Grow Your Practice.