4 More Designations And Certifications For Careers In Financial Services


Our language is full of acronyms. I mean, aside from trying to contain your LOLs so you don’t end up ROTFLMAO, shortened forms even play a role in the workplace.

They may be fewer in words, but that short collection of letters can carry a lot of weight, particularly in the financial industry.

We’ve already given you four of the most common financial designations and certificates, but there are still many more out there that can add up to success in the financial sector.

Here are four more designations that you should consider for your career in financial services:

Registered Financial Planner (RFP) certification

Unlike some other certifications, being registered as a financial planner does not require a certain level of education or prior experience.  With this basic certification, planners can create financial plans and help clients navigate through complicated financial situations. It’s a critical first step on the path to obtaining the internationally-recognized Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

The certification program consists of four core courses (Retirement Planning, Income Tax Planning, Strategic Investment Planning and Risk Management and Estate Planning), plus the evaluation course which includes a final examination.

Job seekers registered as financial planners can work anywhere from the financial department of larger companies to banks or in consulting. This designation is well respected in the industry and is administered by the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning. Upon completion of the program, you will become eligible to write the first CFP examinations administered by Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC).

Personal Finance Planner (PFP) designation

With this designation, offered by CSI Global Education, PFPs are qualified to help clients manage different sizes of wealth and help people make the most of their money. Personal Financial Planners get a firm grasp on insurance, real-estate management and how business income sources affect people’s personal finance situations. The training for this designation will teach you how to take all these factors and put them into one cohesive financial plan that reflects your clients’ investment objectives and their attitude towards risk.

The route to the PFP designation requires completion of either the Canadian Securities Course (CSC) or Investment Funds in Canada (IFC) course, plus the Personal Financial Services Advice and Financial Planning I and II courses, the Certificate in Financial Services Advice and the Applied Financial Planning (AFP) Certification Examination.

With a PFP, finance professionals are equipped to work in banks, trusts and credit unions, investment firms and brokerage firms.

Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designation

Training teaches CIM-holders to look at the larger picture to figure out where the best investments are, how to manage wealth, and how to read market and economic conditions in terms of how they will impact a client’s financial portfolio. As a certified CIM, you register as a portfolio manager, and advise representatives of the provincial security commission.

There are two routes to this designation, both of which start with the CSC and require the completion of either three or four courses. In addition to the courses, you must also have two years of relevant work experience to earn the CIM designation.

This designation, also offered by CSI, can also be a building block for completing the Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional (CSWP) designation.

Chartered Strategic Wealth Professional (CSWP) designation

This designation is also granted by CSI and recently replaced the Financial Management Advisor (FMA) designation in 2008. With this designation, you are given the tools to manage the lifestyles of the rich (and possibly famous). CSWP professionals carry the only designation that specializes in high net-worth advisory, which essentially means that you are able to deal with complexities of wealthy clients. You are also trained to provide financial planning advice to investors.

Professionals with this designation are able to work both in large companies and with wealthy individual clients.

A number of other designations and courses can lead you to the CSWP, but generally you must hold the PFP, CFP, CLU or FMA designation, or the Wealth Management Essentials (WME) course or Professional Financial Planning Course (PFPC) to start the program. From there, you complete three courses and receive three certifications, and then you’re eligible to take the Strategic Wealth 360 Certification Examination once you’ve completed at least three years of work experience.

Which designation or certification are you planning to pursue to start your career in Financial Services?

Financial Services Week

About the author

Ishani Nath is a proud McMaster alum, aspiring writer and current journalism grad student at Ryerson University. When she's not hammering out articles, she can usually be found on a patio or nestled on a couch trying to keep up with those crazy Kardashians. She hopes to one day have a job that makes her excited to get up each morning, or at least one that gives her free food. Intrigued? Enthralled? Learn more by following her on @ishaninath.