Explanation of Minimum Requirements for Various Credentials
Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS®) provides advisors with a strong fundamental financial knowledge with a specific focus on asset management and investments. It is awarded by the College for Financial Planning. The program consists of ten core courses. Candidates must pass a final closed-book, proctored exam for each course. The AAMS® designation is renewed every two years, with a 16 hour continuing education requirement. For more information, go to: https://www.kaplanfinancial.com/wealth-management/aams
Academy of Life Underwriting (ALU) The ALU Level One certificate is awarded by the Academy of Life Underwriting. To qualify for the ALU Level One Certificate, a student must successfully complete the following: ALU 101 Exam, LOMA 280 - Principles of Insurance or LOMA 281 - Meeting Customer Needs with Insurance and Annuities, LOMA 290 - Insurance Company Operations or LOMA 291 - Improving the Bottom Line: Insurance Company Operations. The ALU designation is renewed every two years, with a 50 hour continuing education requirement. For more information, go to: https://alu-web.com/
Associate in Insurance (AINS®) The AINS designation is awarded by the American Institute For Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters. To qualify for the AINS designation, a student must successfully complete three topical courses consisting of a core, concentration, and an elective course in addition to one ethics course. Each course requires successfully passing a virtual exam. There is no continuing education for the AINS® designation. For more information, go to: https://web.theinstitutes.org/designations/associate-insurance
Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) The CFP® certification is awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification is the standard of excellence in financial planning. CFP® professionals meet rigorous education, training and ethical standards, and are committed to serving their clients' best interests today to prepare them for a more secure tomorrow. In order to achieve and maintain certification, CFP® professionals must 1) hold a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited college or university and 2) have three years of full-time personal financial planning experience or the equivalent part-time experience (2,000 hours equals one year full-time). Additionally, candidates must complete a CFP-Board registered program, or hold one of the following: CPA, ChFC, CLU, CFA, Ph.D. in business or economics, Doctor of Business Administration, or Attorney’s License. Candidates for CFP® certification must pass the CFP® exam, which tests your ability to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life situations. The CFP® certification is renewed every two years by completing 30 hours of continuing education, including two hours of an approved Ethics course. For more information, go to: https://www.cfp.net/
Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA) The Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA) credential — developed by some of the nation’s leading advisors and retirement plan experts — demonstrates knowledge, expertise and commitment to working with retirement plans. Plan advisors who earn their CPFA demonstrate the expertise required to act as a plan fiduciary or help plan fiduciaries manage their roles and responsibilities. Awarded by the National Associate of Plan Advisors (NAPA). CPFA’s must pass a proctored exam. The CPFA certification is renewed every year, with a 10 hour continuing education requirement. For more information, go to: https://napacpfa.org/#about-cpfa
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – CPAs are licensed and regulated by their state Boards of Accountancy. While state laws and regulations vary, the education, experience and testing requirements for licensure as a CPA generally include minimum college education (typically 150 credit hours with at least a baccalaureate degree and a concentration in accounting), minimum experience levels (most states require at least one year of experience providing services that involve the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills, all of which must be achieved under the supervision of or verification by a CPA), and successful passage of the Uniform CPA Examination.
In order to maintain a CPA license, states generally require the completion of 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) each year (or 80 hours over a two year period or 120 hours over a three year period). Additionally, all American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) members are required to follow a rigorous Code of Professional Conduct which requires that they act with integrity, objectivity, due care, competence, fully disclose any conflicts of interest (and obtain client consent if a conflict exists), maintain client confidentiality, disclose to the client any commission or referral fees, and serve the public interest when providing financial services. For more information, go to” https://www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/cpaexam.html
Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA®) CAIA Charter is awarded by the CAIA Association. CAIA® is the globally-recognized credential for professionals managing, analyzing, distributing, or regulating alternative investments. In order to achieve a CAIA Charter, candidates must meet one of the following requirements 1) hold a bachelor’s degree and more than one year of business experience in the financial industry, or 2) possess four years of experience in the financial industry. Additionally, candidates must complete a self-study certification program, which requires the successful passing of both a Level I and Level II examination. CAIA Charters are maintained by completing a self-evaluation tool every three years. For more information, go to: https://caia.org/programs/the-caia-charter
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) The CFA Institute is the premier global association for investment management professionals. To earn the CFA charter, candidates must 1) the CFA Program contains three levels of curriculum (250 hours of study per level), each with its own exam (six-hour course exam). Passing the exam for all three levels is a requirement to obtain the CFA charter 2) complete work experience requirements before, during, or after participation in CFA Program. Your experience must be directly involved with the investment decision-making process or producing a work product that informs or adds value to that process. 3) In support of your membership application, you will need to provide 2-3 professional references. References will be asked to comment on your work experience and professional character 4) Apply to become a regular member of CFA Institute. Once your application is approved and you have joined CFA Institute, you will have earned the CFA charter. There are no continuing education requirements for CFA Charterholders. For more information, go to: https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/programs/cfa/charter
Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) is the financial planning designation for the insurance industry awarded by The American College. The ChFC®’s must have three years of full-time business experience, within the five years preceding the awarding of the designation. The program consists of seven core and two elective courses, equivalent of 27 semester credit hours. Candidates must pass a final closed-book, proctored exam for each course. The ChFC® designation is renewed every two years, with a 30 hour continuing education requirement. For more information, go to: https://www.theamericancollege.edu/designations-degrees/ChFC
Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) Centered on the complexities of life insurance for both individuals and small businesses. The CLU® is awarded by The American College. CLU®’s must have three years of full-time business experience within the five years preceding the awarding of the designation. The program consists of five core and three elective courses, equivalent of 24 semester credit hours. Candidates must pass a final closed-book, proctored exam for each course. The CLU® designation is renewed every two years, with a 30 hour continuing education requirement. For more information, go to: https://www.theamericancollege.edu/designations-degrees/CLU
Chartered Retirement Plan Counselor (CRPC®) CRPC® is a graduate-level designation program for experienced financial advisors who wish to offer more comprehensive retirement advice to individual clients. awarded by the College for Financial Planning. CRPC®’s must complete an online instructor led or self-study course. The course consists of nine modules. Candidates must pass a final closed-book, proctored exam. The CRPC® designation is renewed every two years, with a 16 hour continuing education requirement. For more information, go to: https://www.kaplanfinancial.com/wealth-management/crpc
Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS®) CRPC® is a graduate-level designation program for experienced financial advisors who wish to specialize in retirement plan creation and administration. Awarded by the College for Financial Planning. CRPS®’s must complete an online instructor led or self-study course. The course consists of seven modules. Candidates must pass a final closed-book, proctored exam. The CRPC® designation is renewed every two years, with a 16 hour continuing education requirement. For more information, go to: https://www.kaplanfinancial.com/wealth-management/crps
Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional SM (FPQP®) the FPQP designation program is an introduction to personal financial planning, awarded by the College for Financial Planning. This program provides an ideal starting point for those new to the financial planning profession with no prior experience, as well as for planners who wish to gain additional insights. In order to achieve FPQP® certification, candidates must complete an online self-study FPQP course and online, closed-book final exam within 120 days of receiving program access. An instructor-led course is also available. The FPQP® designation is renewed every two years, with a 16 hour continuing education requirement. For more information, go to: https://www.kaplanfinancial.com/wealth-management/fpqp
Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) the FRM® is the leading certification for risk managers, awarded by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). In order to achieve FRM® certification, candidates must complete a self-study certification program, which requires the successful passing of a two part exam. GARP recommends FRM® certificates complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years. For more information, go to: https://www.garp.org/frm
Five Star Wealth Manager Award is presented by Five Star Professional. To receive the Five Star Wealth Manager award, a wealth manager must satisfy 10 objective eligibility and evaluation criteria. No fee was paid to receive the award, however, MCF purchased a marketing package after the award was granted to promote the award. Andrew Sathe did not apply for the award and neither he or MCF are affiliated with Five Star Professional. Rankings published by magazines, and others, generally base their selections exclusively on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized adviser. Rankings are generally limited to participating advisers. Working with a third-party rated advisor does not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of satisfaction or performance. This award should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor by any client.
This award was issued on September 1, 2022 by Five Star Professional (FSP) for the time period September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. Award winners may pay for marketing tools, including this advertisement. The award is based on 10 objective criteria. Eligibility criteria required: 1. Credentialed as a registered investment adviser or a registered investment adviser representative; 2. Actively licensed as a registered investment adviser or as a principal of a registered investment adviser firm for a minimum of 5 years; 3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review (As defined by FSP, the wealth manager has not; A. Been subject to a regulatory action that resulted in a license being suspended or revoked, or payment of a fine; B. Had more than a total of three settled or pending complaints filed against them and/or a total of five settled, pending, dismissed or denied complaints with any regulatory authority or FSP's consumer complaint process. Unfavorable feedback may have been discovered through a check of complaints registered with a regulatory authority or complaints registered through FSP's consumer complaint process; feedback may not be representative of any one client's experience; C. Individually contributed to a financial settlement of a customer complaint; D. Filed for personal bankruptcy within the past 11 years; E. Been terminated from a financial services firm within the past 11 years; F. Been convicted of a felony); 4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal standards; 5. Accepting new clients. Evaluation criteria considered: 6. One-year client retention rate; 7. Five-year client retention rate; 8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9. Number of client households served; 10. Education and professional designations. FSP does not evaluate quality of services provided to clients. The award is not indicative of the wealth manager's future performance. Wealth managers may or may not use discretion in their practice and therefore may not manage their client’s assets. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by FSP or this publication. Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by FSP in the future. 1,585 Cincinnati-area wealth managers were considered for the award; 230 (15% of candidates) were named 2022 Five Star Wealth Managers. 2021: 1,357 considered, 216 winners; 2020: 1,406 considered, 216 winners; 2019: 1,371 considered, 238 winners; 2018: 1,413 considered, 239 winners; 2017: 985 considered, 288 winners; 2016: 918 considered, 368 winners; 2015: 1,667 considered, 427 winners; 2014: 2,082 considered, 483 winners; 2013: 1,367 considered, 509 winners; 2012: 1,265 considered, 477 winners.
NAPA Top Women Advisors is a survey and awards program dedicated to identifying and recognizing women who are making significant contributions to the retirement plan industry. NAPA Firm Partners nominate candidates for this recognition. Nominees are asked to respond to a series of questions, both quantitative and qualitative, about their experience and practice. Honorees are selected by a panel of judges. No payment was required for participating in the survey, however, the award is limited to individuals whose organizations are members of National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA). MCF pays an annual membership fee to NAPA. The number of participating entries was not disclosed. Please click here to learn more about the survey.
Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA®) the QKA® is acquired through the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) and is designed to teach current 401(k) best practices and the technical skills needed to properly service 401(k) plans. In order to achieve QKA® certification, candidates must apply for the course by having their manager verify via signature that the applicant has at a minimum three years of experience in the field. Once accepted, candidates must complete a course administered by ASPPA, which features two sections—Plan Management and Testing. Each section is comprised of nine courses, a practice test, and a final exam. Candidates must earn passing scores on both exams. a self-study certification program, which requires the successful passing of a two part exam. All ASPPA credentialed members must earn 40 hours of continuing education (CE) credits (two of which must be ethics) within a two-year cycle, and renew their ASPPA membership annually. For more information, go to: https://asppaqka.org/
Qualified 401(k) Consultant (QKC®) the QKC® is acquired through the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) and is designed for anyone seeking an advanced DC designation, especially client-facing and technical personnel, (i.e., compliance testers, relationship managers and implementation team members). In order to achieve QKC® certification, if you earned the QKA credential or meet the requirements (passed the DC-1 and DC-2, or QKA1 and QKA2 exams) you are eligible to pursue the QKC. Then, upon passing QKC, you may apply for the credential. The QKC examination consists of 55 multiple-choice questions; candidates have 2.5 hours to complete it. All ASPPA credentialed members must earn 40 hours of continuing education (CE) credits (two of which must be ethics) within a two-year cycle, and renew their ASPPA membership annually. For more information, go to: https://www.asppa-net.org/qkc