3 Things to Know About Financial Designations

“While designations often imply special training or experience of some extent, they can also be used as a marketing or self-promotional hook.”



Don’t let a financial professional’s credentials fool you.


Designations can be misleading, not worth the paper they are printed on or even fake.  Not all designations are the result of a degree of special training or experience.  Designations can also be used as marketing or self-promotional hooks.  The value of the designations a person holds depends on the institution granting them.  Issuing organizations determine the criteria a person needs to meet to receive a particular professional designation.  While some may involve fairly rigorous standards to earn and maintain, others are easy to earn and may only require an annual fee.  To learn what it takes to earn and maintain a financial designation, visit FINRA’s Professional Designation tool.


There is a difference between being registered or licensed and holding a professional designation.  Brokers MUST be registered with FINRA, a state’s securities regulator, or both (depending on the value of assets under management) to provide financial advice and conduct sales activities in the securities and insurance industry.  To find out if you are working with a registered or licensed Adviser visit FINRA Broker Check.