The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has on their website a page entitled, “Investment Advisers: What You Need to Know Before Choosing One” which begins:
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) receives many questions about investment advisers—what they are and how to go about choosing one. This document answers some of the typical questions we receive from investors about investment advisers.
Here is one of the questions and answers from that site:
Q: What should I do if the financial professional claims that he or she is “certified”?
A: If the professional you’re considering claims to be a CFP® certificant, you should also visit the website of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFB Board) to see if the professional is, in fact, certified as a CFP® professional and whether the professional’s certification has been suspended or revoked by the CFP Board. You can also call the CFP Board at (888) 237-6275 to obtain other disciplinary information about the professional.
There are a plethora of certifications other than the CFP. Advisors may say that they are “certified” with one of these other designations as well.
We are part of The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). Joining NAPFA is limited to those CFP® certificants who sign a fiduciary oath requiring among other things restrictive fee-only compensation. At their site you can find a NAPFA Advisor in your area. Here is a description of NAPFA from their website:
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors—highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve. Since 1983, Americans across the country have looked to NAPFA for access to financial professionals who meet the highest membership standards for professional competency, client-focused financial planning, and Fee-Only compensation.
We believe that NAPFA advisors are a well-sought minority of financial advisors.