Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) credential is granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., to individuals who complete a comprehensive curriculum (including the fundamentals of financial planning, insurance and risk management, investments, taxation, retirement planning and employee benefits and estate planning) and successfully pass a challenging 10-hour comprehensive exam (typically the pass ratio hovers around 52 percent). In addition, CFP® practitioners must have at least a bachelor's degree and have at least three years of experience in the financial services industry. CFP® certificants must obtain 30 hours of continuing education every two years, including two hours of ethics. CFP® professionals are held to a fiduciary standard of care, meaning they must always act in the best interest of their clients. They must provide a contract for any financial planning services, as well as a disclosure form including all conflicts - or potential conflicts - of interest, methods of compensation, and other parties that may affect the crafting of a client's financial plan.  Check out the campaign to increase awareness of CFP® Certification.

Securities Licenses

The Series 65 license is a securities license required by most U.S. states for individuals that act as an investment advisor.  The Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, also called the Series 65 exam, covers laws, regulations, ethics, and knowledge on specific investment products. The exam consists of 130 questions plus 10 pretest questions. Applicants are allowed 180 minutes to complete the examination.

The Series 63 license is a securities license entitling the holder to solicit orders for any type of security in a particular state. The Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, commonly referred to as the Series 63 Exam, covers state laws and regulations.  The examination covers the principles of state securities regulation reflected in the Uniform Securities Act (with the amendments adopted by NASAA and rules prohibiting dishonest and unethical business practices). The examination is intended to provide a basis for state securities administrators to determine an applicant's knowledge and understanding of state law and regulations. The exam consists of 65 multiple-choice questions. Applicants are allowed 75 minutes to complete the examination.  

The Series 7 license is the most comprehensive of several securities licenses that permit an agent to communicate with retail investors. The General Securities Representative Exam, commonly referred to as the Series 7 Exam, is a required exam to become a Registered Representative of a broker-dealer in the United States.  The exam is a six-hour, 260 question test , which covers a broad range of investments including stocks, bonds, options, limited partnerships, and investment company products (e.g., open- and closed-end funds). 

The Series 24 license entitles the holder to supervise and manage branch activities. Before taking the Series 24 exam, you must have your Series 7 license.The General Securities Principal Exam, commonly referred to as the Series 24 Exam, covers topics such as supervision of investment banking, trading, customer accounts, and the primary/secondary markets.  The Series 24 Exam is made up of 150 questions. Candidates have up to 3.5 hours to take the exam.

The Series 51 license was established for principals who do not otherwise deal in municipal securities, and do not have the Series 53 designation. Exam topics test the taker's knowledge of underwriting, sales office supervision, market terminology and fair practice rules. The Series 51 is a limited principal exam for managers of broker/dealers who have already earned the Series 24 or Series 26 license. The exam covers the management of registered representatives who market municipal fund securities to clients, specifically Section 529 plans for college education. The test consists of 60 questions.

Insurance Licenses

Life, Accident & Health - Exam is required through the Iowa Insurance Division.  Once you have passed the exam, individuals can market Life Insurance, Variable Annuities, Disability, and Long Term Care.