Consumer Press Takes Note Of IMCA's CPWA Designation And Its Focus On Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals; Not Good News For CFPs

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 07:30
Consumer Press Takes Note Of IMCA's CPWA Designation And Its Focus On Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals; Not Good News For CFPs

Tags: CFP Board | family offices | financial planning | investment advisors | marketing

Former Investment News reporter Charlie Paikert, now writes for Reuters, and yesterday wrote a story singling out the CPWA designation as "a widely-recognized title in the industry for its focus on solving wealthy clients' complex needs beyond merely managing a portfolio."


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But the way CFPs are positioned is not great for those holding that designation.


The consumer press is generally blind to distinctions among professional designations for financial advisors, but this story breaks with that history and indicates the consumer press may actually be getting smarter about professional issues.


How often do you see coverage about differing designations of financial professionals? Have you ever seen a story explaining the difference between a CLU or ChFC versus a CFP?


In paying respect to the CPWA, a new designation created by the Investment Management Consultants Association, Paikert may have overstated how well recognized it is.


My guess is most people have no idea that a CPWA is a Certified Private Wealth Advisor and calling it "widely recognized" is a stretch.


But Paikert's short article does succeed in raising the issue that professional designations for advisors are different. He touches specifically on the CFP versus the CFA certification, and then singles out CPWAs for being focused on issues relevant to ultra-high-net-worth individuals.


If the consumer press starts picking up on the theme that the CFP is not the best designation for advising UHNWIs, that would indeed pose a serious issue to the CFP designation's dominance as the premier designation for advisors.


Challenges to the CFP business model and the positioning of the CFP versus CFA are issues we've covered on A4A recently, which makes this story noteworthy.    







Comments (2)

CPWA widely recognized? The author lost his credibility in the first paragraph. The proliferation of designations is only adding to the confusion among the public about who is really best positioned to serve their interests. I would like to see a detailed analysis of the CPWA vs. the CFP. My expectation would be that 90% or more of the educational material focused on ultra high net worth worth investors is covered in the CFP. For example, the article mentions one advisor who learned about executive stock options. He is obviously not a CFP because if he was he would already have this knowledge.

The industry needs an equivalent of the CPA license. One credential that clearly establishes the advisor as qualified to be providing advice (I am referring to comprehensive financial planning, as opposed to investment management only). This one credential could then be enhanced by specialty designations. I would offer that the CFP is this designation and that the entire industry would be served well to back this as the designation to have.
eric513 , July 27, 2011
is the above comment serious? Comparing CFP to CPA? The CFP is a joke and is not standardized.

CPAs have to have professional standing as well as follow prescribed calculation methods. The CFP has none of this as it would preclude FINRA brokers from buying the designation.

The CFP is a MEMBERSHIP organization, not a PROFESSIONAL organization.
brentb843 , August 02, 2011

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