Canada’s financial advisors find a great deal of value in the designations they achieve and the credentials they carry. We had extensive conversations in focus groups and interviews with advisors to explore the fundamental reasons they value credentials and we then surveyed more than 1,000 advisors to learn just where the value lies in the credential landscape.

“What are the benefits you receive from holding your most important credentials?”  What did we find?

  1. Validation and Confidence are the top reason advisors get credentials.  Advisors want to be confident that they are creating value for their clients and studying to achieve a designation validates their efforts to be at the top of their profession.
  2. The second most important reason is Knowledge.  Advisors want to feel sure that they have the knowledge and skills that will deliver for their clients and that will keep them at the leading edge of the business.
  3. Thirdly, Competitive Advantage.  Advisors recognize that being an advisor is a highly competitive business.  Financial advice is a dog-eat-dog world and to maintain a competitive advantage, many advisors feel that credentials and designations offer a leg up.

Question is… with such an alphabet soup of credentials and designations available, which are the ones that are most valuable to advisors.  When we turn back to our research with advisors … asking them which they feel are most valuable… it becomes pretty obvious.  The Financial Planning Standards Council’s Certified Financial Planner is currently the certification to have.  All of the others bring value… it’s very true… but if you had to start with one… the CFP is the place to start.  Are we at Credo advocates of the CFP? No… but if we were going to become financial advisors, it’s certainly the certification we’d start with.