CFP via CFA route...

What is your opinion?

In order to meet the educational requirements for the CFP, I would have to take 3 course plus the capstone. If I become a CFA first, then I don’t have to waste time and money taking those courses and then I would be both a CFA and CFP.

my credentials.

10 years Financial Planning experience, BS Finance, 4.0 GPA, 90% on the Series 7 and a125 Full scale WAIS IV IQ test.

I think I would be able to pass the CFA by studying hard in 18 months.


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To OP, do you plan to stay in financial planning or are you looking to switch careers? The CFA is overkill for most advisors.

Yeah I don’t know what EnaWilliam was talking about there.

But as for me, I would like to stay as an advisor, here’s the kicker my partner in the firm is already a CFP, so I think having a CFA would be a nice 1-2 punch.

@TeeBone, help me to understand better, from reading your original post, I get the impression that you are trying to do the CFA program as a way to satisfy your CFP continue education requirement? If I read that correctly, heck, there are tons of cheaper and less-stressful way to satisfy CFP continued ed. What is your fundamental motivation of pursuit CFA?


So as it stands right now the CFP board says that my BS in Finance only covered 3 of the 6 educational requirements and then I need to take the capstone. So, that’s probably going to be 5000+ dollars.

Unless I am missing something, which I could be, the CFA route would be less money but take longer to satisfy the CFP pre requisite requirements.

Also, I think both a CFP and CFA would set me apart from the rest of the FA;s out there. For example, my two big competitors in town are a ex chef and ex bartender.

I manage the portfolios at the firm and we do a lot of true risk mitigation with the client’s money. But I feel everyone just thinks I am lying when I say this because I don’t have the big CFA credentials.

“Also, I think both a CFP and CFA would set me apart from the rest of the FA;s out there. For example, my two big competitors in town are a ex chef and ex bartender.” should be your main motivation for pursuit CFA charter. If I could buy education requirement for CFP, i would do it, $5000 may sounds a lot, but compare to the amount of time, energy you will have to devote in the 18 month (assuming 3 for 3), $5000 still seems to be cheaper overall.

Also, forgot to mention, CFA designation means nothing. Our firm CIO doesn’t have CFA charter, and we still think he is a stud.

First, while the 18 month track sounds exciting, I would reconsider. I passed all the levels in 3 years on my first try in a little under 3 years. I spoke with several who tried the faster route (taking in Dec, then June), and said they would never take in December, and follow up with the June exam again. You get burnt out real quick doing that.

As far as the designations, it all depends on what you want to do. I have had my CFP for a number of years and just got my CFA, so they aren’t mutually exclusive. I just came out with a YouTube series and plan to release a video in the future on the different designations. Check out my channel here:

If you’re a planner, CFP is the way to go. It’s heavier on the personal financial planning, things like retirement planning, tax planning, education planning, a lot that CFA doesn’t cover.

CFA is more calculations, getting into the gears of finance. You won’t touch Black-scholes in the CFP, but you learn it in CFA. If you’re into derivatives, bond management, fundamental analysis, etc, the CFA is the route.

Also, the knowledge of the designations is different. The public knows more about the CFP certification - the CFP board is really good about getting the word out. They are about to open up a $11.7 million advertising campaign. They often have ads on TV, web, etc.

CFA is more well known and respected as the gold standard designation within the investment community. It’s definitely harder, no doubt.

Thanks for the post

I think my biggest issue is that I am at a crossroads with my life and career.

Do I stay in retail and get my CFP

or do I get out of retail and get a CFA and do that. Maybe not even in the financial sector anymore, maybe for a large corp.

I am sort of burnt out with the pure stupidity of the general public and trying to get them to see my strategy is better.

Completed the ChFC in February 2018, completing the CLU in November 2018, taking the CFA Level 1 in June 2019. I own my financial planning practice. The only CFAs in my area are college professors and fund managers. Our HNW community is missing good private wealth managers that are analysts and can help them in their private investment endeavors. ChFCs dominate out here.

We also have an emerging tech and Entrepreneurial community here with their Angel investors who use financial planners to help evaluate investments.

Just tossing this out here. Regardless of career path, doing the CFA will open up more options to you.

You do CFA and you can get into the CFP exam with a 4-6 week capstone vs two years. Pass rate is 70%

You do the CFP…and you still have to do everything for the CFA.

I’m a CPA/PFS and a CFA. (I am NOT a CFP, and I probably never will be.) I also have a retail financial advisory practice as part of my tax practice.

If I could go back in time, I would NOT do the CFA. As Sweep The Leg said, for most retail advisors, getting the CFA charter is overkill. It’s akin to getting a Master’s Degree in math–it’s a lot of work, and all you really need is College Algebra.

If I could go back in time, I WOULD do the CFP. It’s more recognizable by the public, and quite a bit easier than the CFA program.

OP: just complete your CFP and then the TEP.

I’m an advisor as well. I’m currently working as an advisor, running my own practice. I hold an undergrad and MBA both in finance and also hold another financial planning designation (in Canada - PFP) and CIM both issued through the Canadian Securities Institute.