by John Darer® CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC
Following up my December 12, 2007 post SFSP Studying Ways to Clamp Down on Use of Bogus Professional Designations or Misleading Use of Legitimate Professional Designations, The Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP) published the results of its recent survey concerning the use of professional designations.
1. 61% said that all financial designations should be regulated by an outside body.
2. In terms of who should regulate them the answers were:
FINRA (formerly NASD) 41%
3. 94% said that all financial designations should go through an accreditation process
4. 91% believe there should be a central source that explains any and all designations including their educational requirments, and provides consumers with a place to lodge complaints?
5. In terms of who should l provide the source in #4, the answers were:
Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) 3%
Other 23%. These included among other things,a combination of the above the authority that granted the deisgnation, an independent body...
6. 70% believe that designations are primarily and education resource while 30% feel that they are primarily marketing tools.
7. 64% feel that it is the client's responsibility to research an advisor's credentials.
The above stats were compiled from the answers of 1250 participants. Question 5 was only answered by 1114.
The National Structured Settlement Trade Association (NSSTA) and Society of Settlement Planners (SSP) need to address these issues as part of a best practices module for their members. NSSTA member Delta Group still uses what appears to be a bogus financial designation, "registered settlement advisor" on its website despite being put on notice earlier this month. The apparently bogus designation is used to characterize many Delta Group associates as one of the reasons to business with Delta Group in its FAQ. I know many of them have legitimate professional designations. Why not promote the legitimate ones and not tarnish your image with the bogus?
As someone who has taken the time to study and pass and meet the ongoing continuing education requirements of the American College PACE program (for CLU and ChFC), the annual continuing education requirements necessary for my securities licenses, who has earned the Certified Structured Settlement Consultant designation and is "en route" to the Registered Settlement Planner (RSP), I support any regulatory effort clamp down on those who use or promote bogus designations. I don't doubt that those with CFPs, JDs, CFAs, CPAs and other accredited degrees and/or accredited professional designations feel the same way. Those of us in the structured settlement and settlement planning industry should exert peer pressure and do whatever it takes to assure our members DO NOT use bogus designations which could ultimately lead to embarassment for the industry.
What do YOU think?
The Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP) is over 79 years old with almost 20,000 members in nearly 200 Chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and Singapore. Its mission is to promote professionalism among its members through the highest quality continuing education and the maintenance of high ethical standards and conduct.
Society members are credentialed financial service professionals who provide financial planning, estate planning, retirement counseling, asset management and other services and products to their clients. Members reflect a great diversity of financial practitioners from fee-only financial planners, estate planning attorneys and accountants, to asset managers, employee benefits specialists and life insurance agents.
The Society is the only professional organization in the industry that requires its members to be credentialed or actively pursuing one of these widely-recognized financial service designations or degrees: CASL™,CEBS®, CFA®, CFP®, ChFC®, CLF, CLU®, CPA, CPC, CTFA, Enrolled Actuary, JD (licensed), Graduate Degree in Financial Services (MBA,MS,MSFS,MSM,PhD), REBC® & RHU®.