So what is the significance of all that alphabet soup after your structured settlement broker or settlement planner's name? Why should you care?. So opened my March 11, 2006 "Structured Settlement Broker and Settlement Planner Credentials" in which I described a number of established financial professional designations including Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC ), Certified Structured Settlement Consultant (CSSC) Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and others. Now we have a new one!
The Registry of Settlement Planners (RSP) Board was recently organized as the credentialing organization for the new Registered Settlement Planner designation professional certification program. The Registry Board, in conjunction with the Center for Financial Responsibility at Texas Tech University is currently developing the educational curriculum by which candidates may meet the requirements needed to obtain the Registered Settlement Planner (RSP) designation and is expected to launch in early 2007. Early indications are that there will be onsite and/or remote courses, exams and the presentation of an actual settlement plan by the candidate. More details are forthcoming.
The path that your structured settlement broker or settlement planner takes to develop the qualities that he or she embodies could vary as much as flavors of ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Some are former lawyers, others are former claims people, others come from the life insurance (including annuities) or investment side of the financial service industry. Still others are bred "in-house" and have risen the ranks within structured settlement or settlement planning firms. There are part timers and there are full timers.
The pace of dynamic change in the financial service industry (which includes the overlapping subsets of structured settlements and settlement planning) demands a commitment to continuing education. Whether that means attending educational meetings and courses beyond the minimum necessary to keep your state insurance or security licenses or seeking, and making the time commitment, to complete a professional designation program (or programs) is up to the individual. New professional designations keep springing up to cover specialized niches such as the American College's Chartered Advisor in Senior Living (CASL), as well as others like the Certified Retirement Advisor, Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) and the Medicare Set Aside Consultant (MSCC).
The National Structured Settlement Trade Association is in the process of revamping its Certified Structured Settlement Consultant (CSSC) Program and an advanced program is also on the drawing board.
Even though I am a proud holder of 3 professional designations and a perpetual student of my industry, I can tell you that a professional designation helps as a standard, but is not the tell all of an individual's qualities. A significant amount of practical experience, excellent research skills, counselor selling skills and common sense is also very meaningful alone or in conjunction with the formal education.