The International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC®) grants a professional designation or title to a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC®) (IARFC). The IARFC is a membership-based, private, non-profit organization. A financial planner or financial adviser must pass the IARFC’s examination and meet other requirements, such as having a degree in financial planning, in order to obtain the RFC®. To keep the designation, a Registered Financial Consultant must follow the IARFC’s Code of Ethics and take continuing education courses. Financial planners can earn a variety of professional designations, including the RFC®.
A financial planner who wants to become a Registered Financial Consultant must pass the IARFC’s exam, which covers annuities, estate planning, securities, and investment allocation, among other topics. An applicant must have a professional designation such as Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), or another designation accepted the IARFC before taking the test. The CLU and ChFC designations are awarded the American College. A degree in financial planning from an accredited college or university is also acceptable if an applicant does not have a professional designation. A candidate must also have four years of financial planning experience.
The IARFC’s Code of Ethics must be followed any financial planner who wishes to become a Registered Financial Consultant. The code of ethics includes requirements such as adhering to financial planning laws, prioritizing the interests of clients over one’s own, and charging reasonable fees. A Registered Financial Consultant must also complete 40 hours of financial planning continuing education courses each year. If a planner violates the IARFC’s code of ethics, fails to meet educational requirements, or has a professional license, such as a license to sell securities or insurance, revoked another governmental agency, the RFC® designation may be revoked.
Financial planners can earn a variety of certifications, including Registered Financial Consultant. A Certified Financial Planner (CFC), a Registered Financial Planner (RFP), a Certified Investment Management Consultant (CIMC), or a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor are examples of other designations (CRPC). Because financial planning is an unregulated industry, a slew of private organizations have sprung up to issue professional credentials. An organization establishes its criteria and awards its designation to anyone who meets them. It is always best for a consumer to do their homework before hiring a financial planner researching the financial planner and the organization that granted the professional designation.