Professional designations abound, and clients have come to expect to see them listed after a financial advisor's name. But are they meaningful?
According to a 2015 study commissioned by the Investment Management Consultants Association, "69 percent of investors with more than $1 million in investable assets say it's important or critical for their advisor to hold voluntary certifications in addition to required licenses and registrations."
The website of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority features a database of more than 160 such designations, with a separate web page highlighting the few that are nationally accredited by either the American National Standards Institute or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
So what exactly does "certified" mean? And if a designation is not certified nationally, can it still be trustworthy?