Few people are aware that there is more than one professional designation for financial planners. The most common designation is that of a “CFP”, or certified financial planner.
However, there is another less common designation, the “PFS” (also “CPA/PFS”), or Personal Financial Specialist. This designation is less common for a reason. Unlike the CFP, which is available even to those without a college degree, the PFS requires not only a college degree, but that the holder also be a CPA, or certified public account.
A CPA must have at least two years working under the professional tutelage of another CPA and must have passed the rigorous CPA exam.
Then, beyond the CPA, a PFS must have met a rigid standard of studies and professional experience related to providing financial services before the designation can be earned.
A financial planner with a CPA/PFS designation, as well as an RIA, or “Registered Investment Advisor”, is the most qualified and unbiased financial advisor you can have.