What education, credentials and/or experience must financial advisors obtain?

Unfortunately, there are no standardized requirements for someone to call himself or herself a financial advisor. You will find a huge disparity in the backgrounds and qualifications of people who provide financial advice. This fact can make choosing the right financial advisor for you confusing and challenging.

At Pillar, you will be working with college degreed professionals and the respected financial designations listed below. Our advisors also have significant experience in providing financial advice to a wide variety of individuals and institutions.

Here are some certification definitions that you may find useful in determining an advisor’s qualifications.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The CPA credential is bestowed upon individuals with an appropriate bachelor’s degree, has passed the rigorous CPA exam and met the minimum experience requirement (generally two years). CPAs are also required to uphold a code of ethics and complete a minimum amount of continuing professional education each year.

Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)

The PFS designation is granted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Applicants must first earn the CPA designation and demonstrate knowledge and experience in personal financial planning through examinations and certification.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The CFA professional credential offered through the CFA Institute to investment and financial professionals. It requires the passing of a rigorous three-part examination and appropriate experience in the analysis of investments. CFA charter holders are required to uphold a code of ethics.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)

The CFP® professional designation is offered through the CFP Board. It requires completing 18 to 24 months of study, passing a rigorous ten-hour exam, and working for three years as a financial planner or doing a two-year apprenticeship with a CFP® professional before earning the designation. CFP® professionals are required to uphold a code of ethics and complete a minimum amount of continuing professional education every two years.