Which is easier to get CFP or ChFC

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AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

I'm just wondering since the CFP wasn't that hard and someone asked me if the ChFC was the same difficulty.

My Inner Child's picture
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Joined: 2006-10-08

Who cares?

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

My Inner Child wrote:Who cares?

I care.

ezmoney's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-30

up until this year, one could be a high school drop out with 3 years financial services and still sit for the exam. Great designation huh? That's what I tell the very few that ask if i have a CFP. Then suddenly the cfp is not so important to the prospect.

My Inner Child's picture
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AllREIT wrote: My Inner Child wrote:Who cares? I care.
JUst what I thought..."nobody" cares.

planrcoach's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-13

I never sat for the ChFC, but others have said you it is easier. Have observed others were studying for CFP switch over to what they said was easier.
If you don't have your CFP, consider not deceiving yourself into saying it is not important. You don't know what you don't know.
This professional designation and ongoing license is for your own professional development first, and by extension, your clients. The college degree requirement indicates evolution.
If you don't bother to get it, don't be sour grapes

rightway's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-02

The CFP is harder.  BTW I hear reps say all the time that "...my
clients and prospects don't care if I have a CFP or not...its a waste
of time...high school education blah blah blah." 

The reason they feel this way is because they never get in front of
cients and prosects that care about it...because they don't have
it.  I never really quite understood why people without the
designation are so dead set against it...verbally.   If you
are doing well without it than great.  Just shut up.   It
cannot hurt you by having it. 

Cowboy93's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-10

Amen. I don't know the % of current CFP designees that don't have a degree,
but I bet it is quite low. Bottom line is if someone talks to two advisors
about handling their $ and has a similar feel for both, an advanced
designation is a great way to break the tie. Plus, being more educated is
never a bad thing.

troll's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-29

The national average pass rate for the CFP exam, (I believe this is over the last two years, not totally sure, has ranged from 44-60%. So its no cakewalk. If you read the Kaplan Review Course materials, they clearly state that this exam is comparable to any professional exam, such as the CPA, and the Bar Exam.
As far as whether its important, I can only ask anyone to tell me that its easy or not important to be able to differentiate yourself from the competition. If easy, tell me how you do it. To me, a great way is to get the designation, which is what I'm working on.
Not to mention the fact, that if we really do care about our clients, we owe it to them to work on our core competencies constantly.
JMHO 

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-31

Sorry, man...I passed the CFP and the CPA...no comparison.  The CPA took five attempts, the CFP took one and was much easier...10 hours of testing vs. 19.5 hours on the CPA when I passed it.  I don't think there's much question that the CFP is harder than the ChFC, though.

troll's picture
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Indyone wrote:Sorry, man...I passed the CFP and the CPA...no comparison.  The CPA took five attempts, the CFP took one and was much easier...10 hours of testing vs. 19.5 hours on the CPA when I passed it.  I don't think there's much question that the CFP is harder than the ChFC, though.
Cant argue with Indy, since I havent taken the CPA. I'm just passing along what I;ve heard. I'm just starting module 5 of the CFP program, and plan to take the CFP exam in July. The instruction at the institution giving us the program has been subpar, and I havent really done the work between classes the way I should. I have to say I;m not optimistic, just hoping that if I put in the 200 hours plus for the review course, it will get me through.
Bye the way, your not D. Bright from Indianapolis are you? Dont know why, but I just had a funny feeling. If by some miraculous chance, I'm right, then PM me.
 
 

spikedkoolaid's picture
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Joined: 2006-04-20

I must confess...I am sitting for the CFP exam for the 4th time in March.  I am a great salesman but I've never been that book smart.  I did get my degree from a major university in California, though.  I don't think the test is that hard but I sure do get the wrong answer a lot! 
I think that when I get the initials behind my name I will definitely call out anyone who I'm competing against.  I do believe it is the gold standard in our industry.

Gone Indy's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-02

Anyone know the percentage of S7 licensed reps that have the CFP?

ChrisB's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-02

I took the level 1 CFA exam last December and vowed to never take another test like that again.  It was hard as hell.

Indyone's picture
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spikedkoolaid wrote:I must confess...I am sitting for the CFP exam for the 4th time in March.  I am a great salesman but I've never been that book smart.
I'd trade my pass for your sales skills!

EDJ to RIA's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-28

Is the CFP harder than the CFA?
Since I do more portfolio management than financial planning, I was thinking about adding this designation.
Any comments from takers and/or holders?

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

ChrisB wrote:I took the level 1 CFA exam last December and vowed to
never take another test like that again.  It was hard as hell.

The CFA is a professional credential on par with being a CPA, not at
all the same level as CFP, and all the other alphabet soup of
designations. Even for people with a BS in finance/MBA most do not pass
the Level 1. The pass rates on the upper levels aren't too good either.

I've thought about doing the CFA/CIC combo once this business settles down.

http://www.icaa.org/html/cicp.html

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

spikedkoolaid wrote:
I must confess...I am sitting for the CFP exam for the 4th time in
March.  I am a great salesman but I've never been that book
smart.  I did get my degree from a major university in California,
though.  I don't think the test is that hard but I sure do
get the wrong answer a lot!

Chico State MBA's check in!

Quote:I think that when I get the initials behind my name I will
definitely call out anyone who I'm competing against.  I do
believe it is the gold standard in our industry.

Are you getting this to make yourself a better advisor or better marketer?

bankrep1's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-02

Why would you take the one that is easier? Why don't you take the one that you think will BENEFIT you the most.

Lot's of folks come to me specifically because I am a CFP. I didn't think it mattered much after the first year, now after a few years I can say it paid for itself and then some.

WFL1's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-24

The CFA is much harder than the CFP.  15-20% of those who begin the CFA actually pass.  The CFP is definitely no cakewalk, but in comparison, is much more achievable.
I think bankrep hit the nail on the head.  Take the exam which will benefit your business and best improve your skill set. 

ChrisB's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-02

CFA is actually harder than the CPA, according to my co-worker at the time.   He was already a CPA and we set for the CFA together.  He is now on level 3.When I took level 1 the pass rate was 30%.

san fran broker's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-25

From what I've been told by the CFA Institute leadership, the CFA is designed to be on par with the bar.

spikedkoolaid's picture
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Joined: 2006-04-20

AllREit,
At this point, I just want the initials behind my name so I can market myself better.  Studying the material has definitely made me a better advisor and more knowledgeable about the portfolio construction.

gad12's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-06

san fran broker wrote:
From what I've been told by the CFA Institute leadership, the CFA is designed to be on par with the bar.

Well I've heard numerous CPA/Attorneys say the CPA exam was more difficult than the bar so go figure.  Any CPA/Attorneys want to chime in?

Indyone's picture
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Joined: 2005-05-31

I'll chime in that I believe the CFA is harder than the CPA, although I have no firsthand knowledge of the CFA.
The bar exam harder than the CPA exam?  No way...I don't believe that one for a minute. Again, I haven't taken the bar exam, so I'm just going on observation and what others have told me.  I would say that pass rate would be indicative...the CPA exam had right at a 20% pass rate when I was chasing it.  I think the bar exam was considerably higher...I know the test was considerably shorter than 19.5 hours.

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

san fran broker wrote:From what I've been told by the CFA Institute leadership, the CFA is designed to be on par with the bar.

It's a very hard exam , and therefore holding a CFA is very prestegious. There is also the CIC designation for CFA's who are also RIA's.

The CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst) is also very hard and prestegious, but that is more of a pension fund thing.

AllREIT's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-16

Indyone wrote:I'll chime in that I believe the CFA is harder than the CPA, although I have no firsthand knowledge of the CFA.

One thing that is interesting is that the AICPA hasn't done much to
promote the PFS designation that CPA's can hold. Given the rigorious
education + exam, and cultural conservatism of CPA's you would expect
them to be very good at investments/personal financial planning.

EDJ to RIA's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-28

On the CPA front, does anyone have experience on addind CPAs or accountants as solicitors for an RIA?
I have 2 accounting firms that don't want to manage investments, but would like to gain from their referrals. I'm interested in setting them up as solicitors of my RIA and pay them a % of my fees. Hopefully encourage referrals and make the relationships sticky.
Any comments are appreciated!

gad12's picture
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Joined: 2006-12-06

EDJ to RIA wrote:
On the CPA front, does anyone have experience on addind CPAs or accountants as solicitors for an RIA?
I have 2 accounting firms that don't want to manage investments, but would like to gain from their referrals. I'm interested in setting them up as solicitors of my RIA and pay them a % of my fees. Hopefully encourage referrals and make the relationships sticky.
Any comments are appreciated!

A local RIA in my town does this exact thing, I briefly discussed it with one of the partners.  Sorry I don't have much information on the details.  I'll watch what others respond as I hope to do the same thing eventually. 

san fran broker's picture
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AllREIT wrote: san fran broker wrote:
From what I've been told by the CFA Institute leadership, the CFA is designed to be on par with the bar.
It's a very hard exam , and therefore holding a CFA is very prestegious. There is also the CIC designation for CFA's who are also RIA's. The CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst) is also very hard and prestegious, but that is more of a pension fund thing.
I think that you are very misinformed. I am not "bashing" the designation per se, but I would say that it isn't in the same league as the CFA, or the CFP for that matter.
I have many colleagues with the CIMA designations and the handful with both a CFA and a CIMA found the latter to be exceedingly easy. It is essentially the designation for mutual fund / separate account users and alternative investment sellers that do not have the time to get the CFP.
I researched it a few years ago and, as I understand it, the designation requires passing an open book test, taking a week long course and then taking another closed book test with an average pass rate of 70%. No complex math or economics is involved. There is continuing education, however.
The CIMA is exclusively held by retail advisors. One of the reasons why it has been so widely adopted are its relatively easy requirements to get and the fact that brokerage firms have not generally tolerated substantial distractions - like professional designations, that take up significant amounts of time that could be spent cold calling. Yes, there are retail advisors that run "institutional" money, but this is essentially on the low end of "institutional" marketplace (small colleges, local charities, small company pensions, etc). It would be safe to say that the CIMA carries absolutely no weight in the pension fund world (which is the top end of the institutional marketplace). The expectation in that realm would be to have a CFA and an MBA from a name school.
I once asked one the retail advisors that I knew who held the CFA, the CFP and the CIMA why he had the CIMA (a Wharton MBA, too). His answer was that he felt that it was common enough to make sense to put on his card, given that some clients would see it on other advisors' cards and "not understand" and that he used the actual CIMA class as an opportunity to visit with some friends who now taught at Penn.
This is not to say that getting the CIMA is not a good thing, but not all designations are created equal... and the CIMA is lesser than most investment and financial planning credentials. The CIMA should not be considered a core designation, but rather a supplement to the CFA or CFP...
Now, flame on...

anonymous's picture
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Joined: 2005-09-29

At this point, I just want the initials behind my name so I can market myself better.  Studying the material has definitely made me a better advisor and more knowledgeable about the portfolio construction.
Your 2nd sentence makes a lot of sense.   However, you are kidding yourself if you think that the letters will make much of a marketing difference.  Keep in mind that the same people who are telling people to look for a CFP are the same people telling people that they don't need a financial advisor.  "Just buy index funds and term insurance."

rightway's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-02

san fran broker wrote:AllREIT wrote: san fran broker wrote:
From what I've been told by the CFA Institute leadership, the CFA is designed to be on par with the bar.
It's a very hard exam , and therefore holding a CFA is very prestegious. There is also the CIC designation for CFA's who are also RIA's. The CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst) is also very hard and prestegious, but that is more of a pension fund thing.
I think that you are very misinformed. I am not "bashing" the
designation per se, but I would say that it isn't in the same league as
the CFA, or the CFP for that matter.
I have many colleagues with the CIMA designations and the
handful with both a CFA and a CIMA found the latter to be
exceedingly easy. It is essentially the designation for mutual fund /
separate account users and alternative investment sellers that do not
have the time to get the CFP.
I researched it a few years ago and, as I understand it, the
designation requires passing an open book test, taking a week long
course and then taking another closed book test with an
average pass rate of 70%. No complex math
or economics is involved. There is continuing education,
however.
The CIMA is exclusively held by retail advisors. One of the reasons
why it has been so widely adopted are its relatively easy requirements
to get and the fact that brokerage firms have not generally tolerated
substantial distractions - like professional designations, that take up
significant amounts of time that could be spent cold calling. Yes,
there are retail advisors that run "institutional" money, but this is
essentially on the low end of "institutional" marketplace (small
colleges, local charities, small company pensions, etc). It
would be safe to say that the CIMA carries absolutely no weight in the
pension fund world (which is the top end of the institutional
marketplace). The expectation in that realm would be to have a CFA and
an MBA from a name school.
I once asked one the retail advisors that I knew who held the CFA,
the CFP and the CIMA why he had the CIMA (a Wharton MBA, too). His
answer was that he felt that it was common enough to make sense to put
on his card, given that some clients would see it on other advisors'
cards and "not understand" and that he used the actual CIMA
class as an opportunity to visit with some friends who now
taught at Penn.
This is not to say that getting the CIMA is not a good thing, but
not all designations are created equal... and the CIMA is lesser than
most investment and financial planning credentials. The CIMA
should not be considered a core designation, but rather a supplement to
the CFA or CFP...
Now, flame on...

Good.  In my time I have done a CFP and CFA...the CFA 3x harder
thann the CFP.  The level 2 was hell, level 1 and 3 easier. 
(San Fran can chime in here). 

All education is good, and all basihing of such should be viewed as counter -producive.

WFL1's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-24

I have both as well.  Level 2 separates the men from the boys.  Level 1 and 3 also require more dedication than I can convey here. 
Take the exam if you REALLY have the time/dedication b/c passing 1 or 2 levels means nothing and it will take significant time away from your family.  Taking it before you have a family is optimal.
Your thoughts on the CIMA are right on...

gridiron1's picture
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Joined: 2006-11-18

I am studying for the CFP right now. Definitely not a cakewalk. If I pass, I will definitely like to use it to my advantage in conversation.
CFP's out there, Any tips on what to say?

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