Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pursuing a Financial Credential

By Liz Crowe, Corporate Education Manager

Do you want to be able to better help solve problems for your clients? Could you be more successful by being more productive? Are you ready to be better at what you do? While a number of you might answer “yes”, you may still wonder then what it takes to make those things a reality. Have you considered that pursuing professional designations and certifications/credentials could be one of the answers?

In an ongoing effort to empower producers with training, tools, and resources meaningful to the growth and success of their practice, Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange is excited to be partnering more closely with the College for Financial Planning, a leading institution focused on meeting the education needs of financial services professionals. We’ve asked Corporate Education Manager Liz Crowe from the College to give our readers perspective on furthering your industry-specific education.

─Brianna Regan, AAAE Marketing Development Director
Many financial professionals reach a point in their careers where they are ready to increase their level of knowledge by pursuing an industry-recognized credential. When pursuing a financial credential it is important to know what you are looking for and why are you looking for it – whether it’s to advance your career, distinguish yourself within the industry, expand your business, or satisfy your clients’ expectations, there are designations that fit just about every need.

With so many financial credentials available, how do you know which one is best for you, which institution is the right fit, and which credential will truly add value to your business? The first thing you need to determine is the type of credential that will meet your goals and meet the needs of your clients. Do you want to offer additional retirement services? Are you working with families and individuals on their retirement strategies or with organizations setting up those plans?

Let’s say you’ve settled on getting a credential in retirement planning because most of your clients are at or approaching retirement. Now, what institution should you attend? It is important to look for an institution that is accredited and offers a nationally accepted credential that is known, recognized, and is focused on industry knowledge as well as approved in your state and by the financial institutions you represent. I cannot stress enough the importance of research when making this decision. Throughout my years in higher education I cannot tell you how many times people sign up for a program and don’t realize what they have just paid for.

When looking for the right institution, ask how the program is structured. Are classes taught online or at a local campus? How often do the classes start? Are the materials offered digitally or as hardcopy books? Are the instructors and academic counselors available after hours? The institution should also be able to provide documentation of its students’ pass rates for each program. At the College for Financial Planning we can provide documentation from CFP Board to show what our most recent and overall pass rates are for students who took the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or CFP® Certification Examination.

In addition, it is vital to understand the prerequisites for the designation. For example, if you wish to pursue the CFP certification, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree and complete a CFP Board-approved education program, plus the final CFP Certification Examination, which is six hours in length. If the CFA® charter is a route you wish to go, then you need to understand how each of the three levels work.

Another aspect to consider when searching for a designation is the earning potential. The College for Financial Planning conducts an annual survey of its graduates to determine their increase in income and level of career satisfaction after obtaining one of our designations. In our most recent survey, respondents who completed our CRPC® designation reported an average increase in earnings of about 17% after one year, and CFP® holders reported an average 20% increase.

It is important to find a credential and institution that are right for you. The College works hard to ensure our students find the right designation for their personal and professional goals and to provide an exceptional learning experience. The College offers programs for all levels, from those new to the industry to someone who is growing their business or wants to increase their level of knowledge all the way to graduate studies. 

If you’re a financial professional writing your fixed annuity and life insurance business through Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange – you’re just the person I want to talk with. If you have any questions regarding the CFP Certification Education Program; professional designations in retirement planning, asset and wealth management, mutual funds, or portfolio management; ; or the redesigned LUTCF® program, please don’t hesitate to contact The College:
The marketers at Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange have experience working with top producers across the country and are uniquely qualified to recommend a number of services and tools that may be a fit for your insurance practice. Please reach them today to find out more about the College for Financial Planning and be sure to ask about discount pricing, as well as AAAE marketing programs that may be able to help you offset or eliminate certification costs. 800.321.3924
Please note that the information and views presented are the author’s and are believed to be reliable; Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange and its representatives are not responsible for the accuracy of information and opinions expressed. Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange is not affiliated with the College for Financial Planning. Although we may promote and/or recommend the services offered by this company, we do not guarantee the accuracy or quality of their services. Agents are ultimately responsible for the use of any materials or services and agree to comply with various regulations and the compliance requirements of their state(s), broker/dealer and registered investment adviser (if applicable), and the insurance carriers they represent.

Ann Arbor Annuity Exchange reserves the right to alter or discontinue these programs and incentives at any time without prior notification. Agent must be in good standing. Participation may be affected for producers associated with an AFMO, Agency, hierarchy, or under a Broker Dealer Master Contract, and may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Registered representatives may need to obtain approval from their Broker/Dealer prior to participation. New York production is not included. Some products not included; other exclusions and reductions may apply. See complete business rules for details.

Designed for Financial Professionals.