The American College of Financial Planning Throws Its Weight Behind A New Retirement Designation

Tuesday, May 07, 2013 13:00
The American College of Financial Planning Throws Its Weight Behind A New Retirement Designation

Tags: retirement income | retirement planning | RICP


While the federal government is cracking down in bogus financial advisor designations, The American College of Financial Planning, recently launched the Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) designation. While designation proliferation is a growing problem for consumers, regulators, and advisors with legitimate designations, The American College is a well-established educational institution for financial professionals.

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Its entrance into the retirement income specialty is likely to be looked upon skeptically by some fee-only financial planners, but The American College has for decades had the financial backing of the insurance industry and its professional education programs are credible. In fact, Wade Pfau, an award-winning Princeton-educated retirement income analyst, in April joined the faculty of The American College as Professor of Retirement Income in a new Ph.D. program on Financial Services and Retirement Planning.
In April, the college announced that it had awarded its first RICP designations to 11 individuals. “The RICP educational curricula is the most complete and comprehensive program available to professional financial advisors looking to help their clients create sustainable retirement income,” according to press release.
Candidates for the RICP designation must complete a minimum of three advanced college-level courses and pass six hours of proctored exams to earn the credential.

Consumer Financial Protection Board issued a report on April 25 recommending ways to address the problems posed to senior citizens by designation proliferation, since some designations are little more than cover for selling products to seniors. The American College, an 86 year old not-for-profit educational institution, might have the influence and financial power needed to make RICP a recognized and respected designation, as baby boomers begin to hit their retirement years and retirement income becomes more important than ever.


Comments (2)

Although I have the utmost respect for Wade Phau and his research which has revolutionized our profession's thought processes on the issue of retirement cash flows, income sources, and sustainability, I am leery of this new designation and the organization behind it. I have attended a number of their webinars over the past several months and have been surprised by the focus on delivery channels and broker dealer emphasis. As a fee only advisor, I was looking for presentations which would help me deal with clients and the process of retirement planning and income generation. What I got were sessions devoted to broker dealer financed presentations that clearly focused on commission based product and product delivery. When I ask a question about fee only approaches, it is as if I had stood up and said I was a leper and would someone please pass me desert.
Question after question that I posed which were for the most part fee oriented or process oriented were greeted with either silence or "I dunno" by the assembled experts.
I would like to believe that Wade's academic presence would shift the emphasis away from a purely BD and product focus, but so far I have not seen it. I want to believe that such an organization dealing with such an important issue as retirement income would have a large space for fee practitioners but so far that is not the case.
Any other have a similar experience with these webinars or interactions with the RICP?
mitchellkeil , May 20, 2013
At one time I helped teach the investment leg of a 2 year CFP program. Almost every student was an employee of a large bank/BD. I felt that most of them were there for the letters and not the knowledge. In fact, more than a few told me that they felt the designation would help their sales and the firms encouraged the designation for that reason (often subsidizing the cost). The creators of these designations must market them or become obsolete. Unfortunately, natural partners are those who develop or sell products. Sales and commissions are not wrong or evil, but I often question the motivation for getting a designation because of my teaching experience.
dwaterbury , July 19, 2013

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