Professionals in many industries tout their education and professional experience as a way to demonstrate their expertise and set themselves apart. The financial industry is a prime example. With almost 200 professional credentials available, advisors can sharpen their ability to serve clients well. If you are searching for a financial advisor and seeking clarity on what the acronyms after each professional’s name means, below is a primer on eight of the most commonly used designations.

Photo showing financial planning in progressAccredited Estate Planner® — Advisors seek the AEP® designation to learn more about designing an estate plan focused on the accumulation, conservation, preservation and transfer of an estate in a way that also helps individuals achieve their estate and wealth management goals.

Accredited Portfolio Management AdvisorSM — Individuals who hold the APMA® designation have completed a course of study to learn more techniques to create and maintain portfolios for clients. The coursework includes client assessment and suitability, risk/return, investment objectives, bond and equity portfolios, modern portfolio theory and investor psychology.

Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® — The CAP® designation provides professionals in the nonprofit and financial services fields with the knowledge/tools needed to help clients reach their charitable giving objectives while also helping them achieve their estate planning and wealth management goals. The curriculum addresses the advanced design, implementation and management of charitable gift techniques and strategies.

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® — The CDFA® designation is growing in popularity because it helps financial and legal professionals support clients going through or managing assets after divorce. Those with this credential are trained to evaluate the tax implications of dividing property, settlement options for dividing pensions, marital property, awarding of child and spousal support and to help determine the financial needs and outcomes for couples after divorce.

Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) and Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) — Advisors with either or both credentials have studied key financial planning topics in-depth — including risk management, tax planning, retirement and employee benefits, estate planning and insurance — to help develop well-balanced financial strategies for their clients.

Certified Long-Term Care® — The CLTC® program is independent of the insurance industry and is designed to provide financial service professionals with expertise and tools to address long-term care planning with their clients.

Certified Retirement Planning CounselorSM — A financial professional seeks the CRPC® credential to learn the finer points of helping clients implement financial strategies to cover pre- and post-retirement needs, asset management and estate planning. Coursework touches on the entire retirement planning process using models and techniques from real client situations.

A professional’s education background is just one factor to consider when deciding who is right for you. For more designation explanations, check out FINRA’s (a financial service industry regulator) website:

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Michael W. K. Yee, CFP®, CFS®, CLTC, CRPC ®, is a Private Wealth Advisor, Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Honolulu, HI. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 31 years. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. ©2019 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. File #2450617