As More Clients Recognize the CFP Designation, Advisors Take Note

·4 min read
Financial advisors should consider using CFP marks in marketing materials.
Financial advisors should consider using CFP marks in marketing materials.

Clients are becoming more aware of the certified financial planner (CFP) credential, according to the CFP Board's latest metrics. The Board has endeavored to showcase the CFP mark's value via a public awareness campaign – and has raised fees, in part, to support that mission. Client familiarity with the CFP certification may make it a more valuable credential to advisors. Here's what to know.

How the Public Views CFP Professionals

In the wake of the CFP Board's 2022 public awareness campaign, its target audience has increased its familiarity with the certification, writes Kevin R. Keller, CFP Board's CEO, in a July letter to CFP professionals.

Among the campaign's target audience, total awareness of the CFP certification reached 87% this year. That's a four-percentage-point increase over last year and the highest level reached since the organization's first public awareness campaign in 2011.

"Awareness is the primary goal of the campaign, but this year we also focused on making progress with the next step of the marketing funnel: increasing preference for CFP certification," Keller writes. "We want the public not only to be aware of CFP professionals but to recognize that a CFP professional can be beneficial for them."

Why Awareness Matters

Financial advisors consider CFP credentials.
Financial advisors consider CFP credentials.

In the alphabet soup of financial advising credentials, carrying marks that prospective clients recognize can be a benefit.

According to a 2021 survey of CFP certificants, 92% say building and promoting the brand should be one of CFP Board's highest priorities.

The CFP's current campaign includes a mix of TV advertising, online outreach, social media, radio and public relations efforts, according to the CFP Board. These initiatives aim to demonstrate how CFP professionals can help develop comprehensive, tailored and forward-looking plans for clients.

For consumers navigating the complicated world of financial advisors and trying to differentiate between different niches, skill levels and professional standards, knowing the CFP as a shorthand for comprehensive financial planning services may be valuable.

What Advisors Should Know About Harnessing CFP Familiarity

CFP professionals note the visibility of the CFP credentials.
CFP professionals note the visibility of the CFP credentials.

CFPs and aspiring CFPs may be eyeing the public perception of the credential and considering whether the juice is worth the squeeze when acquiring or maintaining their certifications.

Recently, the CFP Board announced that it would raise its annual certification fee by $100 to $455. Included in the increase is $15 to support the public awareness campaign.

Financial professionals who want to leverage the visibility of their CFP marks should consider highlighting those credentials in their marketing materials and consumer outreach efforts.

"CFP professionals can harness the increased visibility of and client familiarity with the CFP marks to support their practices by including the marks and the value of working with a CFP professional in their marketing materials, email signatures and social media profiles and websites, as Betterment and Charles Schwab do on their sites," writes James Katsaounis, CFP Board's managing director for marketing and communications, to SmartAsset in an email.

Bottom Line

Increasing public awareness of the CFP marks is an ongoing focus of the CFP Board. Advisors who want to leverage – or learn from – this marketing push should consider how boldly they include their CFP certification in their own marketing materials.

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