Why CFP® Certification Matters Most people think all financial planners are "certified" but that isn't true. Anyone can call himself a "financial planner." Only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirement of a CFP Board can display the CFP® certification marks, which represent a high level of competency, ethics and professionalism. CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct require CFP® professionals to look out for your interest above their own. CFP® Certification Requirements:EducationUnlike many financial advisors, CFP® professionals must develop their own theoretical and practical knowledge by completing a comprehensive course study at a college or university offering a personal financial planning curriculum approved by the CFP Board. ExaminationCFP® professionals must pass the comprehensive CFP® certification Exam, which tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge to real-life situations. The exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits, and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance. The average pass rate for this difficult exam is only 56%. ExperienceCertified Financial Planner™ professional must have a minimum of three years experience in the financial planning process prior to earning the right to use the CFP® certification marks. This hands-on experience guarantees that CFP® professionals have practical financial planning knowledge. Ethics & Fiduciary ResponsibiltyWhen it comes to ethics and professional responsibility, Certified Financial Planner™ professionals are held to the highest of standards. CFP Board's Code of Ethics outlines CFP® professionals obligations to uphold principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence. And the Rules of Conduct require CFP® professionals to put your interests above their own and to provide their financial planning services as a "fiduciary" -acting in the best interest of their financial planning clients. CFP® professionals are subject to CFP Board sanctions if they violate these standards.EnforcementCFP Board's rigorous enforcement of its Standards of Professional Conduct - including releasing disciplinary information to the public -distinguishes the CFP® certification from the many other designations in the financial industry. After attaining certification, a CFP® professional who violates CFP Board's ethical and practical standards becomes subject to disciplinary action up to permanent revocation of certification.