I don’t think it is ridiculous…as long as those are relevant to your profession, however, I do think education “title” (PhD, MBA, BS, BA) shouldn’t be on there. The only problem is that person’s business card may not be big enough to contain all those designations.
I think the general rule of thumb is if what you do requires a license, it is a good idea to add the suffix. So that basically crosses out mba, ms, cfa, etc…however you DO need a CPA, JD, MD to do your job.
When you said it’s the “rule of thumb”. I would disagree. Where I work, I’d say about 1/10th of employees have the CFA charter. Almost all of them use it after their name in e-mails.
A large percentage of our clientele who have the CFA, also use it.
The CFA institute employees almost all use it. The instructors at Kaplan use it. CFA is definitely acceptable to follow the name. It seems to be used that way in a majority of cases. Perhaps you personally disagree with that usage, but I would hardly call it the norm.
It has a lot to do with your job. The letters are marketing materials. Some of my clients will only hire a ChFC or CFP. Some don’t care. At the end ot the year I’ll complete the CLU so I’ll have CLU, ChFC after my name for the next 3 years. I’m doing the CFA to differentiate and attract more HNW clients (and other projects), I also do a lot of business consulting. Real consulting, not just selling insurance for buy-sell agreements or 401(k)‘s. In my area the only other CFA’s are college professors. The business consultants are CPA’s but they only do bookkeeping, taxes, and accounting. So I’ll get differentiation with no competition. I plan to add all three after my name. I don’t plan to earn any more charters though. I do have an MBA but I don’t add it to my name. Degrees are added for people in academic or scientific fields. In sales, people are more impressed when you have a masters degree and don’t add it. They find out through your online profile or by looking at your "I’ love me wall" in your office. It helps to close cases.
As for what other people in the industry, like other financial planners, think. I don’t care. they’re not hiring me to manage their wealth. I prefer that they keep their names plain. I hire bankers, brokers, fund managers, analysts, etc. for my clients. They have to impress me, I don’t have to impress them. Most of them don’t care as long as they’re making money.