Dowling & Yahnke boasts a team of professionals who adhere to the highest standard in customer service and industry knowledge. Accordingly, our staff has earned a number of industry certifications that confirm their level of knowledge and understanding.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter is a globally respected, graduate‐level investment credential established in 1962 and awarded by the CFA Institute, the largest global association of investment professionals.
There are currently more than 150,000 CFA charterholders working in 163 countries. To earn the CFA charter, candidates must (1) pass three sequential, six‐hour examinations, (2) have at least four years of qualified professional investment experience, (3) join CFA Institute as members, and (4) commit to abide by, and annually reaffirm, their adherence to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.
The CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, enforced through an active professional conduct program, require CFA charterholders to:
Passing the three CFA exams is a difficult feat that requires extensive study (successful candidates report spending over 300 hours of study per exam level). Earning the CFA charter demonstrates mastery of many of the advanced skills needed for investment analysis and decision making in today’s quickly evolving global financial industry. As a result, employers and clients are increasingly seeking CFA charterholders, often making the charter a prerequisite for employment.
Additionally, regulatory bodies in 40 countries recognize the CFA charter as a proxy for meeting certain licensing requirements. More than 550 colleges and universities around the world have incorporated a majority of the CFA Program curriculum into their own finance courses.
The CFA Program curriculum provides a comprehensive framework of knowledge for investment decision making and is firmly grounded in the knowledge and skills used every day in the investment profession. The three levels of the CFA Program test a proficiency with a wide range of fundamental and advanced investment topics, including ethical and professional standards, fixed‐income and equity analysis, quantitative methods, corporate finance, alternative and derivative investments, economics, financial reporting and analysis, portfolio management, and wealth planning.
The CFA Program curriculum is updated every year by experts from around the world. Such updates ensure that candidates learn the most relevant and practical new tools, ideas, and investment wealth management skills to reflect the dynamic and complex nature of the profession.
To learn more about the CFA charter, visit www.cfainstitute.org.
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™(CFP®) certification is a voluntary certification that is recognized in the United States and a number of other countries for its (1) high standard of professional education, (2) stringent code of conduct and standards of practice, and (3) ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients. Currently, more than 83,000 individuals have obtained CFP® certification in the United States.
To attain the right to use the CFP® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:
Individuals who become certified must complete the following ongoing education and ethics requirements in order to maintain the right to continue to use the CFP® marks:
CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ are certification marks owned by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, LLC. These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
To learn more about CFP® certification, visit http://www.cfp.net/.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the statutory title of qualified accountants in the United States who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (Uniform CPA Exam) and have met additional state education and experience requirements for certification as a CPA. The CPA was established in law in 1896.
The requirements for licensure as a CPA, which are set by each state’s board of accountancy, include completing a program of study in accounting at a college or university, passing the Uniform CPA Exam, and obtaining a specific amount of professional work experience in public accounting (the required amount and type of experience varies according to licensing jurisdiction).
One of the world’s leading licensing examinations, the Uniform CPA Examination, serves to protect the public interest by helping to ensure that only qualified individuals become licensed as CPAs. The Uniform CPA Exam is set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Eligibility to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam is determined by individual state boards of accountancy. Typically, the requirement is a U.S. bachelor’s degree including a minimum number of qualifying credit hours in accounting and business administration with an additional one-year study.
The subject matter areas covered by the Uniform CPA Exam include:
The Uniform CPA Exam tests primarily understanding and the ability to apply authoritative literature—such as auditing and accounting standards, the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Internal Revenue Code—that are universally adopted by all U.S. jurisdictions or are federal in nature.
Approximately 35 of the state boards of accountancy now require applicants for CPA status to complete a special examination on ethics. Many states require that the ethics course include a review of that state’s specific rules for professional practice.
CPAs are required to take continuing education courses in order to renew their license. Requirements vary by state, but the majority of states require 120 hours of CPE every three years with a minimum of 20 hours per calendar year. As part of the CPE requirement, most states require their CPAs to take an ethics course during every renewal period.
To learn more about the CPA; designation, visit www.AICPA.org.
The Chartered Divorce Financial Analyst® designation is issued by The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA™), which is a national organization dedicated to the certification, education, and promotion of the use of financial professionals in the divorce arena. This designation is awarded to individuals who successfully complete the IDFA™ initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Founded in 1993, IDFA™ provides specialized training to accounting, financial, and legal professionals in the field of pre-divorce financial planning. Over the years, IDFA™ has certified more than 5,000 professionals in the U.S. and Canada as Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® professionals.
The CDFA® designation is available to individuals who have a minimum of three years’ experience as a financial professional, accountant, or matrimonial lawyer and a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
To acquire the designation, candidates must successfully pass all exams and be in good standing with their broker dealer (if applicable) and the FINRA/SEC or other licensing or regulatory agency.
To earn the designation, the participant must complete a series of self-study course modules and pass an examination for each module. The American module topics are:
To retain the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® designation, a CDFA® must obtain fifteen divorce-related hours of Continuing Education (CE) every two years, remain in good standing with the IDFA™, and keep his/her dues current.
To learn more about the CDFA® designation, visit www.institutedfa.com.
The Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) designation is an intensive 4-day executive MBA-style program and is the most widely accepted and endorsed professional exit planning program in the world. The Exit Planning Institute is the only organization that offers the Certified Exit Planning Advisor Program and qualifies for continuing education credits with twelve major professional associations, making it the most widely accepted and endorsed professional exit planning program in the world. Currently, more than 800 individuals worldwide have completed the curriculum and are certified.
The Certified Exit Planning Advisor program was specifically designed for business advisors who work closely with owners of privately held companies. The organizing principle of the program is Master Planning, the alignment of the three legs of the stool (business, personal, financial), which is executed through the implementation of a process called the Value Acceleration Methodology™. Using an executive MBA-style format, the program includes a combination of lectures, group discussions, case studies and individual exercises to introduce participants to these concepts and to reinforce skills. The program is taught by the Exit Planning Institute’s faculty of advisors, who are all sought after subject matter experts and authors.
To receive the CEPA designation, a candidate must complete a rigorous 4-day program that involves approximately one hundred hours of pre-course study, thirty hours of classroom instruction, and the successful completion of a 3-hour proctored exam.
The Exit Planning Institute delivers interactive education and training, performance-enhancing resources, and strategic tools designed to enhance the exit planning profession. Formed in 2005 to serve the educational and resource needs of wealth managers, financial planners, accountants, management consultants, attorneys, M&A advisors, commercial lenders, and other business advisors, the Institute is considered the standard trendsetter in the field of exit planning. It is the only organization that offers the Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) program which qualifies for continuing educational credits with twelve major professional associations, making it the most widely accepted and endorsed professional exit planning program in the world.
The Exit Planning Institute serves as a platform for creating awareness, advisor collaboration, innovative learning, continuing education, defining methodology, research, thought leadership, and practice development. Certified Exit Planning Advisors help to identify, protect, build, harvest and manage wealth to assist business owners and their families through an ownership transition.
To learn more about the Exit Planning Institute, please visit www.Exit-Planning-Institute.org
The first industry designation of its kind, the Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional (IACCP®), was developed by the Center for Compliance Professionals, the education and professional development division of National Regulatory Services (NRS), a resource closely in tune with the changing complexity of the financial securities compliance profession and provider of compliance education for over 20 years.
The IACCP® is awarded to knowledgeable, experienced individuals who complete an instructor-led program of face-to-face and online study, pass a certifying examination, and meet work experience, ethics and continuing education requirements. The designation signifies knowledge of investment adviser regulation and compliance best practice, and adherence to national recognized professional standards and ethical leadership.
Exhaustive certification and course development, together with expert instructors and facilitators from the compliance, legal, regulatory, industry, and academic sectors, help ensure that individuals earning the IACCP® designation have been trained, tested and certified to meet high industry professional standards.
IACCP® is a certification owned by the Investment Adviser Compliance Certificate Program®. This certification is awarded to individuals who successfully complete the program’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
To learn more about the IACCP® designation, visit www.investmentadviser.org.
Individuals who hold the MPASSM designation have completed a Master of Science degree with a major in personal financial planning. The program consists of 36 to 43 semester credits and delves deeply into personal financial planning or investment-related content using research-based coursework and real-world case studies. Graduates of the program are required to demonstrate critical thinking skills and complex problem-solving techniques. Additionally, individuals must complete assignments, projects, research, and papers and meet all graduation requirements for the Master of Science degree.
All designees have agreed to adhere to the Standards of Professional Conduct and are subject to a disciplinary process.
Designees renew their designation every two years by completing 40 hours of content-specific continuing education, reaffirming adherence to the Standards of Professional Conduct, and complying with self-disclosure requirements.
To learn more about the MPAS® designation, visit their website.
The Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst (AIFA®), designation is granted by fi360, formerly known as the Center for Fiduciary Studies. It is the first and only designation that focuses on the process of conducting fiduciary assessments. Those who earn the AIFA® mark, successfully complete a specialized program on investment fiduciary standards of care, pass a comprehensive examination and attest to a Code of Ethics. The AIFA® designation represents a thorough knowledge of and ability to apply the fiduciary Practices. AIFA® designees learn the Practices and the legal and best practice framework they are built upon. AIFA® designees have a reputation in the industry for the ability to implement a prudent process into their own investment practices as well as being able to assist others in implementing proper policies and procedures. AIFA® designees are qualified to conduct independent fiduciary reviews for nonprofit endowments and foundations, ERISA retirement plans, private family trusts and high net worth individuals. AIFA® designees possess the ability and knowledge to advise clients of deficiencies in investment processes. It is also the required mark to perform CEFEX Fiduciary Certification, the independent recognition of a fiduciary’s conformity to all fiduciary Practices and Criteria.
To become an AIFA®, one must have graduated from fi360’s AIF® training. In addition, there are specific prerequisite work experiences. Currently, there are approximately 10,900 active AIF® designees and 450 active AIFA® designees across several countries.
Once accredited, AIFA® designees have the following obligations:
Sign and agree to abide by a Code of Ethics. Complete appropriate continuing education requirements of ten combined hours of continuing professional education each renewal year (at least six hours must be accumulated from fi360-produced sources).
Maintain current contact information in fi360’s designee database.
Remit annual dues.
To learn more about the certification, visit www.fi360.com.
The ChFC® designation has been a mark of excellence for financial planners for over thirty years and currently requires more courses than any other financial planning credential. The curriculum covers extensive education and application training in all aspects of financial planning, income taxation, investments, and estate and retirement planning.
To attain the right to use the ChFC® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:
To retain the Chartered Financial Consultant® designation, a ChFC® must complete the Professional Recertification Program. Designees are required to obtain thirty hours of continuing education every two years, with at least one hour of ethics CE required as part of that total. Annually, designees must recommit to The American College of Financial Services standard of ethics, reconfirm client-facing status, update their contact information, and pay the membership fee.
The CLU® designation is one of the oldest and most respected credentials in financial services, dating back to the late 1920s. It represents a thorough understanding of a broad array of personal risk management and life insurance planning issues and stresses ethics, professionalism, and in-depth knowledge in the delivery of financial advice.
To attain the right to use the CLU® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:
To retain the Chartered Life Underwriter® designation, a CLU® must complete the Professional Recertification Program. Designees are required to obtain thirty hours of continuing education every two years, with at least one hour of ethics CE required as part of that total. Annually, designees must recommit to The American College of Financial Services standard of ethics, reconfirm client-facing status, update their contact information, and pay the membership fee.