Online Certificate in Financial Planning


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Online Certificate in Financial Planning

  1. 1. Online Certificate in Financial Planning offered in partnership by Dearborn Financial Services and Kaplan College. Frequently Asked Questions Table of Contents Click on the text below to be directed to that topic General Company Information 2 About the online Certificate in Financial Planning program 2– 5 Tracking and Reporting 5 Sales Support Process 5– 6 Compliance and Professional Education Credits 6 About the Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) designation 6 CFP™ Board Certification Examination Requirements 6 –10 CFP Certification Examination ™ 10 –14 Addendum 1 – Faculty and Board Advisors 15–16
  2. 2. General Company Information How can you support the credibility of Dearborn Financial Services? Dearborn Financial Services is a recognized leader in the financial services industry in providing high quality education and technology driven compliance solutions. For over 30 years, we have helped organizations like yours implement training programs that help to maximize training resources, boost productivity and optimize market performance. How can you support the credibility of Kaplan College*? Kaplan College was originally the American Institute of Commerce, founded in 1937. Kaplan College is a regionally accredited institution with over 60 years experience offering top quality educational programs in a variety of areas, including business, legal, nursing, paralegal studies, law and most recently financial planning. Through the changing times, Kaplan College has achieved its goals and recognition in professional education by keeping abreast of work- place needs, utilizing innovative teaching methods and a myriad of educational resources. As part of the Kaplan, Inc. family of companies, students and graduates continue to benefit from the fine tradition of this esteemed institution. Accreditation Kaplan College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NCA) located on 30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, 1-800-621-7440. Licensure Kaplan College is approved by the Iowa Department of Education, the Iowa and Illinois Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Iowa and Illinois Private Industry Area Councils, and the Veterans Administration. The College has a certificate of approval to operate issued by the Illinois State Superintendent of Education. What is the relationship of Dearborn Financial Services and Kaplan College? Kaplan College and Kaplan Professional Companies are subsidiaries of Kaplan, Inc. Dearborn Financial Services is a subsidiary of Kaplan Professional. Dearborn Financial Services and Kaplan College agreed to a marketing partner- ship for the online Certificate in Financial Planning program, owned and developed by Kaplan College, due to complementary expertise in providing high quality professional education. Dearborn Financial Services and Kaplan College have over 90 years of combined leadership experience providing exam prep certification, professional and curriculum development training for the medical, legal and financial services industries. Online Certificate in Financial Planning Program Who is in charge of course development? What is their expertise in the field of financial planning? Kaplan College’s esteemed faculty and advisors are well known for their expertise in the practice areas of financial planning. Currently, there are two primary content developers, both with many years of financial planning educa- tion and examination preparation experience. There are practicing CFP™** professionals assisting students through educational coursework as online instructors. Finally, our distinguished Board of Advisors oversees future content and market development of the program. For detailed information about their background and experience, please refer to Addendum I, Faculty and Advisors. How much does the entire program cost? What does the fee cover? The enrollment fee for the entire online Certificate in Financial Planning program is $3,095. This fee includes access to the online program, costs of the books and shipping, access to the online review course and a $395 non-refundable admission fee. Can students purchase each course separately? If yes, how much will it cost? Yes. The 6 focused courses and the online Review Course are available separately. Each course cost $450 including the cost of books and shipping. The online Review Course cost $595: Complete curriculum and individual courses: • FP101 - Fundamentals of Personal Finance Planning • FP102 - Insurance and Employee Benefits • FP103 - Investment Planning • FP104 - Income Tax Planning • FP105 - Planning for Retirement • FP106 - Estate Planning • FP107 - Online Review Course 2
  3. 3. What is your refund policy? Complete Program Enrollment Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services will honor requests for refunds to the student withdrawing from the online Certificate in Financial Planning program, within the following considerations: • All monies will be refunded if the student cancels within 5 calendar days after midnight from the time the Student Enrollment Agreement was completed and submitted. • After this 5 calendar day period and up to and including the first 30 calendar days of enrollment in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program, a student withdrawal from the program will result in a refund of all monies paid, less the non-refundable admission fee of $395. • After more than 60 calendar days of enrollment in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program have passed, upon withdrawal of the student, Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services will not honor any requests for refunds. All requests for refunds that meet Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services refund policy will be made to the Company or the student within 30 calendar days of the student’s effective withdrawal date. • In case of prolonged illness, accident, death in the family, or other circumstances that make it impractical to com- plete the online Certificate in Financial Planning program, a refund that is reasonable and fair to the parties shall be made. Refunds will not be honored after the published time of 12-18 months allowed for the completion of the online Certificate in Financial Planning program. • Students can be dismissed at the discretion of the Program Director for insufficient progress, non-payment of fees, or failure to comply with the Terms of the Enrollment Agreement. Individual course Enrollment Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services will honor requests for refunds to the students withdrawing from any individual course enrollments, with the following considerations. • All monies will be refunded if the student cancels within 5 calendar days after midnight from the time the Student Enrollment Agreement was completed and submitted. • After this 5 calendar day period no request for refunds will be honored for individual course enrollment, including the Online Review Course. What are your passrates? Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services online Certificate in Financial Planning program was introduced to the market in March of 2001. As with any new examination preparation program, until enrolled students have successfully completed the educational portion and begin completing the CFP™ Board Certification Examination, we cannot provide any statistical information. Rest assured that the content developers of the online Certificate in Financial Planning program have many years of examination preparation experience behind them. Note: A Limited Guarantee offer is available to clients and students. A Limited Guarantee authorization provides students enrolled in the complete program then failed the CFP™ Board Certification Examination unlimited access to the online program, online review course and live review course (if available). Dearborn Financial Services and Kaplan College reserves the right to cease offering such guarantee at its sole discretion. Please ask your Dearborn Financial Services Account Manager about the mechanics of this offer. Do you have the flexibility to offer the program in traditional learning formats e.g. classroom? A Live Review Course will be offered in June 2002. Please send an email to for more information. How can you support the effectiveness of your program without time tested passrates? Kaplan, Inc. and its subsidiaries are known for their high standards in delivering quality education and exam prep learning products. The diverse markets we serve are confident in the learning experience and the results of their scores in licensing and certification examinations. Our expertise as educators combined with robust technology solutions allow us to develop successful and effective online learning education programs with exam prep. From K- 10 learning centers, eScore, examination-prep from Kaptest including the LSAT and GMAT. We also offer licensing exam prep and professional development programs to diverse industries through Dearborn Financial Services, Dearborn Real Estate Education and Schweser Study Program. In addition, Kaplan College introduced the first online law school, Concord Law School which currently has 1,000 student registrations and a retention rate of 70%. Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services online Certificate in Financial Planning program is developed and written by experienced practitioners and educators. Our online review course is partially developed and reviewed by financial planning practitioner and educator, Kenneth J. Zahn, CFP™. The eLearning system and customer relationship management technology behind our the online Certificate in Financial Planning program helps accelerate learning to a higher level by providing the student control over his or her study pace, an interactive yet personal approach to learning and the convenience to study anytime, anywhere. How many students are currently registered in your program? There are over 1500 students enrolled in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program. 3
  4. 4. What is your student retention rate? 97%. The 3% drop rate is primarily due to a students personal issue that would make it impractical for him/her to complete the program. What if I have already taken two financial planning courses with a competitor provider, do I still have to take all the courses in your program? No. Students may be able to opt-out of courses FP102 – Insurance and Employee Benefits course and FP103 – Investment Planning courses, subject to review and approval of the Executive Program Director. Note: Transfer of credit policy effective September 1, 2001 • Transferee may transfer a maximum of 2 courses for credit towards FP102 and FP103. • For admission, transfers must register in a minimum of 4 courses in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program. • There is a transfer fee of $35.00 per course. What if I have already taken two of your courses and would like to switch to a competitor, are my courses going to be credited by the competitor? Transferability of courses from Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services online Certificate in Financial Planning program is under the discretion of the training or educational institution a student is considering. Kaplan College and Dearborn cannot determine the courses that other training or educational institutions will accept. On average, what is the timeframe for a student to complete your program? Complete Program: The published time to complete the online Certificate in Financial Planning program takes 12- 18 months. In addition, a student will spend 120–160 hours for the online Review Course. This published timeframe also takes in consideration the commitment of the student to study and learn. Individual courses: Average completion time for individual courses is 120-160 hours per course. What happens if a student does not complete the program within the 12-18 month time frame? Students who do not complete the program within the 12-18 month published completion time will be given 3 extension opportunities: • Six month extension at no cost. • Three month extension with additional fees. • Final extension and a dismissal decision should student still fail to complete course requirements. Why is your study program to prepare for the CFP™ Board Certification Examination shorter compared to your competitors’ program? Our program is not necessarily shorter. Our recommended completion time is shorter than other providers’ comple- tion time. However, completion time is also influenced by the student’s time commitment. With a program delivered online, we provide a variety of student services to help motivate students in achieving their education at a favorable retention rate that helps a student efficiently complete the program in a shorter time frame. Is the study time of 12-18 months adequate time to prepare a student for the CFP™ Board Certification Examination? For a motivated student, a study timeframe of 12-18 months is reasonable. This timeframe however does not include a minimum of 6 weeks after completion of the educational program to take the online Review Course and intensively prepare for the CFP™ Board Certification Examination. In addition, those students who wish to complete the program in less than 18 months will probably need to double-up on coursework at some point during the program. How do you validate the students learning and retention of topics discussed in each course? Online quizzes A student’s retention is validated through the online quizzes at the end of each lesson. There are 10 lessons in each course. Students are allowed to retake the quiz multiple times until they achieve the required passing score. The required passing average for the quizzes is 80%, each of which consist of 8-10 questions. Online final exam after each course At the end of each course students will take a final exam with 50 multiple choice questions and one case study with 10 multiple choice questions. The average passing rate required is 70%. They are allowed to retake the final exam twice. If they fail at both instances, they will have to contact the Executive Program Director. Message boards The program includes a digital based message board. Students can post questions on the message board and can expect a prompt response within 24 hours from experienced practitioners and educators. Web fieldtrips The program provides the student with exercises in the practical aspect of financial planning. This exercise usually takes about 45 minutes. Students are asked to record the information or learning experience in a learning journal they can use for reference. 4
  5. 5. Online Review Course The program includes an intensive online review course is the final step in preparing the student for the CFP™ Board Certification Examination††. The online review course is 450 practice questions (which are derived form the 101 topics in the program), and a 300 question simulation of the CFP™ Board Certification Examination. The required passing average for the online review course is 70%. New features, in 2002! • A customized and dynamic progress bar on the student’s desktop measuring actual progress against the above “ideal” progress chart • The use of technology to send automated, “user-friendly” responses to simple questions • An instructor CFP™ practitioner/ professional to answer online content questions within 24 hours of posting (asynchronous interaction) • Scheduled live “chats” with instructors or guest financial planning experts on a regular basis (synchronous interaction) • The use of “peer-to-peer” or student-to-student interaction through the use of an automated Student Union, and a series of tangible “rewards” as the student moves through various stages of the program (for example, a list of the financial planning profession’s list of best articles that a student can use in his or her own practice). What type of student support services and student feedback do you provide? For general information and billing, students may contact Dearborn Financial Services at 1-800-824-8742 extension 4485 or 4325, M-F 7am to 7pm CT. Each student has access to Kaplan College’s student services division via phone, email and live chats. Initial personalized contact with a Program Advisor within the first 48 days of enrollment. Feedback from online instructors is available via email, phone or message boards. Welcome packet mailed to the student. Includes a welcome letter and a student ID.. Tracking and Reporting Can the student and administrator track the progress in the program? Yes. A student can view his or her personal progress by going back to each lesson. While an administrator may view the progress of students on a course by course basis within his reporting level, if the organization required Career Tracker services. Dearborn’s Career Tracker services for tracking of a student’s progress in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program may have additional fees. The student and the administrator will receive course completion information for the examination at the end of each lesson. If my organization currently uses Dearborn Financial Services CE and Firm Element offerings, can you add the tracking and reporting for financial planning courses? Yes. The progress of current Dearborn Financial Services clients who also use our online Certificate in Financial Planning program may be tracked in Dearborn Career Tracker. Dearborn Career Tracker services for tracking the progress of students in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program may require additional fees. Sales Support Process Can you provide me with a demo of the program? Yes. We will need your complete name (first name and last name), organization name, address information, business phone and business email address. Send your request for demos to How soon can you set up a company from the time the Addendum for the Client Profile agreement is signed? A Certificate in Financial Planning addendum to the client profile basic account set up can be accomplished within 2 business days, while a Certificate in Financial Planning account set-up with discounting requirements and tracking and reporting requires an additional 2 business days. If your request requires customization, we will provide you with an exam after the customization account set-up request is submitted. Is your system capable of bulk load enrollments? Yes. As long as the information is provided in our bulk load format requirements. How do you determine billing cycles for corporate customers? Billing cycles may vary depending on the date the account was established. 5
  6. 6. Do you offer a program for installment payments or education financing? Not at this time. We are currently exploring partnerships that may enable us to offer education payment or financing options. Compliance and Professional Education Credits Will I receive CE credits toward my life license for related courses with your Certificate in Financial Planning program? We understand how important it is for students to maximize the time spent taking the courses required to maintain licenses and professional designations. Dearborn Financial Services compliance department is in the process of submitting the courses included in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program to state regulators for CE credit. This process usually takes approximately 120 days from the time of submission. •As of December 10, 2001 39 states have approved FP101 for insurance CE credit. Will I receive CE credits for a CPA or PACE designation for courses I take in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program? We understand how important it is for students to maximize the time spent taking the courses required to maintain licenses and professional designations. Dearborn Financial Services compliance department is in the process exploring CE credits for CPA/CPE credit with the State Accounting Boards. If a student is CLU and ChFC designated, are they required to take all the courses in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program? Probably not. This depends on courses taken for their CLU and ChFC designations and their equivalency to courses in the online Certificate in Financial Planning program. Based on our course transfer policy, two courses may likely transfer. Are the courses transferable for credits in an MBA program? Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services offer a non-degree Certificate program in financial planning. Non-degree credits typically do not transfer into a degree program like an MBA. Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) Successfully complete the Certificate in Financial Planning program to receive the Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) designation. The online Certificate in Financial Planning offered in partnership by Dearborn and kaplan College has been chosen by the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC) to be the requisite educational foundation and examination requirement to earn their organization’s prestigious designation. Visit for more information. CFP Board Certification Examination Requirements TM Disclaimer: the following text was derived from Guide to CFPTM certification by the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Board of Standards, version 1/01. Dearborn Financial Services or Kaplan College will not be held liable for the accuracy of the information. To request for your personal copy of the Guide to CFPTM certification please visit or call 1-800-487-1497. The Four “Es” of CFP™ Certification To become certified, you are required to meet the following four initial certification requirements (known as the four “Es”): • Education • Examination • Experience • Ethics Education To become certified by the CFP™ Board, you will need to be knowledgeable in the financial planning topics listed under the “Completing the Education Requirement” depending on which date you sit for the CFP™ Certification Examination. There are three ways to complete the educational requirement please see “Completing the Education Requirement”. 6
  7. 7. Examination After you have successfully met the education requirement, you will be eligible to apply for the CFP™ Certification Examination. The CFP™ Certification Examination assesses your ability to apply your financial planning knowledge, in an integrated format, to financial planning situations. Combined with the education and experience requirements, it assures the public that you have met a level of competency appropriate for professional practice. Details about the CFP™ Certification Examination are on page 9. Experience Because CFP™ certification indicates to the public your ability to provide financial planning without supervision, the CFP™ board requires you to have experience in the financial planning process. Three years of relevant experience is needed if you have an appropriate college degree or five years if you don’t. The work experience requirement can be completed either before or after successfully completing the CFP™ Certification Examination. Ethics When you have completed the education, examination and experience components of the CFP™ certification process, you will receive a Declaration Packet from the CPF™ Board. This packet includes a Declaration and Agreement form, that must be signed by you, asking you to disclose whether you have ever been a party (or involved) in any criminal, civil, governmental, or self-regulatory agency proceeding or inquiry. CFP™ certification also requires you to agree to adhere to the CFP™ Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards, and acknowledge the CFP™ Board’s right to enforce them through its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Completing the Education Requirement As a first step to CFP™ certification, you must master more than 100 integrated financial planning topics. The topics cover major planning areas such as: • The financial planning process • Insurance planning • Investment planning • Tax planning • Retirement planning • Employee benefits • Estate planning Although education is a fundamental part of achieving CFP™ certification and will give you the foundation of financial planning concepts and processes, mastery of educational course work alone does not guarantee success on the CFP™ Certification Examination. The CFP™ Board’s exam does not test textbook theories, but rather it assesses your ability to apply your financial planning knowledge in an integrated approach to solve “real life” financial planning situations. Previous experiences, and exam preparatory factors, such as an appropriate review course, that improve your ability to synthesize and evaluate complex concepts at an advanced cognitive level are important complements to the educational foundation. You can complete the educational requirements for CFP™ certification through one of the following three methods: 1. CFP™ Board-Registered Program 2. Challenge Status 7
  8. 8. 3. Transcript Review CFP™ Board-Registered Program You can complete a course of study in financial planning offered by an educational institution registered with the CFP Board, as listed at the end of this section. For the most up-to-date list, with expanded contact information, visit the “CFP™ Certification” section of the CFP Board’s Web site at Course Titles and Length of Study The CFP™ Board has reviewed the educational programs at registered institutions to ensure that they cover the core knowledge needed to practice personal financial planning at an upper division undergraduate level or higher. Regardless of the program type, the curriculum taught must be the equivalent of at least 15 semester hours. Each educational institution may present the topics under various course names and titles, such as risk management, financial analysis and estate planning. However, each registered program will cover the topics needed to meet the education requirement for CFP certification. Some programs also include a Review Course to help you prepare for the CFP™ Certification Examination. Challenge Status The CFP™ Board has approved specific degrees and professional credentials as fulfilling the education requirement for CFP certification. If you have one of the following degrees or credentials, you will automatically be eligible to sit for the CFP™ Certification Examination: • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) - inactive license or certificate acceptable • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) • Ph.D. in business or economics* • Doctor of Business Administration* • Licensed attorney - inactive license acceptable *from an accredited U.S. university or college Only the degrees and credentials listed above are approved for challenging the CFP™ Board’s exam. If your degree or credential is not on this list, you may wish to consult the transcript review process as an alternate route to the CFP™ Certification Examination. If you are challenging the exam on the basis of an inactive CPA or law license, you will need to provide a letter from the applicable licensing board stating that you are in good standing with that authority. To apply for the CFP™ Certification Examination, download the form from the CFP™ Board Web site or request an application from the CFP™ Board toll-free at (800) 487-1497 or Transcript Review The CFP™ Board recognizes that certain professional credentials cover some of the components in the CFP™ Board’s financial planning topic list. Therefore, the CFP™ Board may waive some or all of the educational component required for CFP™ certification if: 1. You can demonstrate that you have successfully completed appropriate upper-division level college or university course work, and/or 2. You have a CFP™ Board-recognized credential that can be transferred to meet part of the educational component. You must also be in good standing with the organization that issues the credential. 8
  9. 9. Approved Credentials The following credentials meet certain components of the CFPTM certification’s educational requirement. The first column lists the credential; the second lists the corresponding topics in the CFP™ Board’s topic list for the exams after July 2001. Since we do not list every possible financial services credential here, feel free to contact the CFP™ Board at (800) 487-1497 or for information on other designations. Topics covered for exams Credential after July 2001 CFP Board Topic Number(s) Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS*) 13-15, 18, 21, 25, 35, 40-43, 73-81 Enrolled Agent (EA) 57-71 Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (F.S.A.) 13,14, 19, 40-53 *Completion of two additional courses from the Wharton School and the International Foundation for Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) will satisfy the CFPTM Board’s educational requirement for individuals with the CEBS designation. College Degrees Course work completed while obtaining the following college or graduate degrees may contain elements of the CFP™ Board’s required topic areas: • B.A. or B.S. degree with majors in accounting, economics, finance or insurance • M.B.A. or M.S. degree with an emphasis in finance, insurance, tax, financial planning or accounting • J.D. degree • LL.M. degree Review the checklist on the transcript review application against your college transcript(s) to determine if you have covered any CFP™ Board topics and can receive credit for courses previously taken. Look for upper-division level courses (junior, senior or graduate level course work with course numbers of typically 300 or greater) with titles such as Personal Income Tax, Insurance, Investments, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, and Personal Financial Planning. To qualify for the CFP™ Certification Examination, your financial planning-related course work must total at least 15 upper-division semester hours or 20 quarter hours. The courses must have been taken at a U.S. regionally accred- ited four-year educational institution. If, after reviewing your transcript, you feel that you have completed all or part of the necessary financial planning topics at an appropriate institution, you may apply to the CFPTM Board for a transcript review. Continuing education courses, firm training and/or National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) or state licenses do not fulfill any of the CFPTM Board’s initial educational requirement. Applying for Transcript Review To apply for a transcript review with the CFPTM Board: 1. Complete the transcript review application. List your courses on the first page of the form. Then, using the course number, indicate courses on the checklist that correspond to a specific content area. One course may cover several content areas. 2. Attach course descriptions from the catalog or the course syllabus if the title does not clearly identify course content. 3. Attach your transcript to the application form (photocopies are fine). The transcript must accompany the application, or the application will be deemed incomplete and will not be reviewed. Incomplete applications will be returned. 4. Mail the application and completed checklist, transcript and other supporting documentation, and a $100 non-refundable review fee (MasterCard, American Express or Visa payments accepted) to the following address: Transcript Review CFP™ Board 1700 Broadway, Suite 2100 Denver, CO 80290-2101 9
  10. 10. Application Review Your transcript review application will be processed within 30 working days of its receipt by the CFP™ Board. If the CFP™ Board determines that you have fulfilled the educational requirements, you will receive written notification. You will also receive an application for the CFP™ Certification Examination. If your application is received fewer than 30 working days before an exam application deadline, you will have to sit for a later exam. Addressing Topic Deficiencies If the CFP™ Board determines that you have not fulfilled the education component, you will receive written notice of your areas of deficiency. You may complete deficient topics at a CFP Board-Registered Program. Please be aware that each college or university has the right to impose its own transfer of credit policy. After you have addressed any topic deficiencies at a CFP™ Board-Registered Program: 1. Compete the CFP™ Certification Examination application. 2. Attach a copy of the letter from the CFP™ Board noting the topics in which you were deficient. 3. Attach a transcript from the CFP™ Board-Registered Program or a signed note from the program director verifying that you have completed the needed topics. 4. Submit the application and documentation to the CFP™ Board. If you complete the missing topics at a U.S. accredited college or university that does not have a CFP Board- Registered Program, submit a new transcript review application, along with a review fee of $100. Include the letter you received from the CFP™ Board noting the missing topics and the new transcript showing that you have addressed the deficiencies. There is no guarantee that the new courses will meet the topic coverage. The CFP™ Board will not pre-determine the status of any course. Appeals All appeals to decisions made regarding the transcript review process will be directed by staff to the CFP Board’s Board of Examiners. Please submit all documentation with your appeal, along with a $300 appeal fee, to: Transcript Review Appeal CFP Board 1700 Broadway, Suite 2100 Denver, CO 80290-2101 The Board of Examiners attempts to respond to each appeal in a timely manner. However, because of the infrequency of its meetings, the Board of Examiners cannot guarantee a response in time to meet the application deadline for a particular CFP™ Certification Examination. Contact CFP Board staff toll-free at (800) 487-1497 or initialcert@CFP- for more information. CFP™ Certification Examination The CFP™ Certification Examination is designed to assess your ability to apply your financial planning knowledge to real-life financial planning situations. By passing this exam, you demonstrate to the public that you are at the appropriate level of competency required to practice financial planning. The CFP™ Board maintains a list of review course providers to assist candidates in preparing for the CFP™ Certification Examination. Visit for the most up-to-date list. The CFP™ Board does not assess the quality of the review courses nor does it endorse any review program. Eligibility You can apply for the CFP™ Certification Examination when you have successfully fulfilled the education requirement. Development To develop exams that reflect the current practice of financial planning, the CFPTM Board has conducted regular job analysis in 1987, 1994 and 1999 by reviewing the typical tasks performed by planners and assessing the knowledge and skills needed to perform these tasks. Valid, job-related exam topics are developed and exam questions written by task forces that include practicing finan- cial planners and financial planning educators. The exam questions are subjected to a rigorous review by the Board of Examiners and subcommittees of content experts composed of practicing planners and educators. Each question is answered -and assessed -by practicing financial planners. Samples of retired exam questions may be downloaded from, or viewed on, the CFP™ Board’s Web site at in the “CFP™ Certification” section. The sample, multiple-choice questions provide you with an understanding of question format, and should not be used as a practice exam or indicator of exam preparedness. (Note: Legislation enacted within six months of the exam date will not be tested.) 10
  11. 11. Case Scenarios and Problems All questions on the CFP™ Certification Examination are presented in a multiple-choice format. There are two pri- mary types of problems. The first type of problem presents extensive case scenarios. After reading each scenario you will be asked to answer 10 to 20 multiple-choice questions. Typically, there are three case scenarios on each exam with a series of questions that are worth three points each. The second type of problem presents much briefer facts or scenarios. You will be given enough facts to allow you to answer from one to six questions that follow. These questions are worth two points each. Balance of Emphasis The CFP™ Certification Examination will test your ability to integrate knowledge from all of the topic areas. Questions may focus on discrete topics or may require knowledge of several topics. Each exam attempts to achieve a distribution of the topics listed at the end of this section. Cognitive Level The four cognitive levels that are tested on the CFP™ Certification Examination are: 1. Knowledge 2. Comprehension/Application 3. Analysis/Synthesis 4. Evaluation These levels are listed in the order of increasing complexity of mental processes involved. The topic list at the end of this section indicates the highest level of cognitive process used for each topic area. The CFP™ Certification Examination measures your problem-solving ability, with less emphasis on the first cognitive level. Test Dates The CFP™ Certification Examination is scheduled to last 10 hours and is held three times a year, generally on the third Friday and Saturday in March, July and November. The exam consists of one four-hour session on Friday afternoon, and two three-hour sessions on Saturday. Visit for the test dates and locations. Application Submittal Your application for the CFP™ Certification Examination should be submitted to: CFPTM Board 1700 Broadway, Suite 2100 Denver, CO 80290-2101 F: (303) 860-7388 Your application may be submitted via fax with payment charged to a MasterCard, American Express or Visa account (please provide the expiration date). Since the CFP™ Board is not responsible for incomplete or illegible fax transmittals, we suggest that faxes be followed by hardcopy within five working days, together with evidence of the successful fax transmittal. You can verify that the CFP™ Board has received your exam application at www.CFP-, in the “CFP™ Certification” section. Your completed application must be received by the printed deadline. (Note: Deadline date refers to the date of receipt by the CFP™ Board, not the date of postmark. Applications must be complete at the time of receipt to avoid missing registration. The application deadline for each exam is approximately seven weeks before the exam date. Consult the exam application of CFP™ Board Web site for exact dates.) Only complete exam applications will be processed. The following constitutes a “complete” application: • Application (in full) signed and dated • Exam fee (in full) • Appropriate qualifying documentation (e.g., transcript, certificate, diploma or license) Your exam application will be reviewed by the CFP™ Board; however, your exam will be administered by The Chauncey Group International, a subsidiary of Educational Testing Services (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey. Questions about the actual administration of the exam, such as schedule, admission tickets or score reports, should be directed to: The Chauncey Group International 664 Rosedale Road Princeton, NJ 08540-2218 P: (609) 720-6811 F: (609) 720-6550 11
  12. 12. Alternate Test Dates and Special Accommodations If you cannot test on Fridays and/or Saturdays because of religious beliefs, the CFP™ Board will make alternate testing arrangements. A written request for such accommodations must be attached to the exam application, along with a letter from your religious leader. The CFP™ Board will make reasonable accommodations for anyone who, because of a disability, will need special accommodations to sit for the CFP™ Certification Examination. A physician’s letter outlining the special accommo- dations needed must be attached to the exam application. International Test Sites The CFP™ Board will establish international test sites for the CFP™ Certification Examination on a case-by-case basis for a site fee of $1,000, in addition to the regular exam fee. Fee The fee for the CFP™ Certification Examination is $595, and must be paid in full by the application deadline. Provisions for refunds and conditions of forfeiture of fees are describe below. Scheduling Confirmation Approximately two to three weeks after the CFP Board has received your exam application, you will receive confir- mation of your exam registration. You can also confirm your exam status with the CFPTM Board online at www.CFP- You will receive an admission ticket two to three weeks before the exam date. The exact time and location of the exam are printed on the ticket. You must bring the ticket with you to the exam on both days. In general, you must report to the testing facility by 12:30 p.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. Withdrawal There are no postponement or re-scheduling provisions available for the CFP™ Certification Examination. If you do not wish to take the exam once you are scheduled, you must withdraw. If you wish to withdraw from the exam, you will forfeit a portion of your exam fee, according to the following schedule: Refund • Up to 40 calendar days before exam $545 • 39-0 calendar days before exam No Refund Failure to Appear If you fail to appear for the exam, you will forfeit the entire exam fee. Certain allowances are made for medical or other emergencies. Medical or Other Emergencies The CFP™ Board will consider waiving the withdrawal penalties or fee forfeiture in case of a medical emergency. Your request for such a waiver must be made in writing and supported by documentation from a physician. Your request must be received within three weeks after the exam. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. What to Bring to the Exam You should bring the following items to the exam site: • Admission ticket • Photo identification, such as a driver’s license • Battery-powered, hand-held financial function calculator* *You will need a financial calculator with an internal rate of return (IRR) function for problems with unequal periodic cash flows. Calculators with alphabetic keys will not be permitted. The exam booklets will contain all other information needed, such as income, estate and gift tax tables, insurance policy information, unified credit amounts and investment formulas, in addition to scratch paper. Misconduct You will be expected to conduct yourself in an ethical manner before, during and after the CFP™ Certification Examination. Allegations of exam misconduct will be investigated by the CFP™ Board and disciplinary action will be taken, if appropriate. If you are found to have cheated, you will be barred from taking any CFP™ Board exam for three years from the date of the incident. Scoring Answers to the exam questions must be recorded on the answer sheet. No credit is given for answers noted in the exam booklet. Select only one answer for each question. Multiple responses to a single question will be scored as incorrect. Your score is based on the number of correctly answered questions. 12
  13. 13. Exam Results Five to six weeks after the exam date, you will receive your exam results via first-class mail. Neither the CFP™ Board nor The Chauncey Group will disclose exam results over the phone or by fax. In addition, exam results will not be sent by express mail. All exam books are the property of the CFP™ board and will not be returned. You may request a duplicate exam report after the results have been mailed. This request should be made to: Exam Administration Office The Chauncey Group International 664 Rosedale Road Princeton, NJ 08540-2218 P: (609) 720-6692 F: (609) 720-6550 Pass Score The CFP™ Certification Examination is a pass or fail exam. The method used to score your exam (a modified Angoff method) is based on industry standards for voluntary certification exams. The pass score process is based on “criterion-referenced” rather than “norm-referenced” methodology. In contrast, the criterion-referenced methodology does not rely on a bell curve. Your performance will not be ranked in comparison to others taking the exam. Instead, your performance is scored against an established level of competency. The CFP™ Board does not pass or fail a fixed percentage of exam candidates. Instead, the intent is to make fair and appropriate pass-fail decisions. If you demonstrate an established level of competency, you will pass. If you do not, you will fail-regardless of your relative standing. The statistics for each question are reviewed by a psychometrician, the Board of Examiners and a question-audit committee. All testers may be given credit for questions that do not test appropriately before the test is finally scored. The pass score methodology is used with a post-exam process that statistically equates the current CFP™ Certification Examination with past exams. This process is used by the CFPTM Board and its consulting psychometri- cians to assure that all candidates are treated equally from one exam administration to the next. The passing score for each administration of the exam may vary because the passing score is set each time in a way that compensates for a more-difficult or less-difficult version of the exam. For this reason, the passing score is never released, nor is any information about a tester’s individual score. If you fail the exam, you will receive feedback on the topics in which your test performance was below the mini- mum competency level. This feedback is more useful than a score because the topic representation of the CFP™ Certification Examination is consistent from one exam administration to the next. Exam answer sheets are scored several times by optical scanners before final scores are determined. Damaged answer sheets are scored by hand to ensure accuracy. Re-Examination Procedures If you fail the CFP™ Certification Examination, you are required to retake the entire exam. There is no limit on the number of time you may retake the exam. You will have to pay the current exam fee for each retake. Review and Appeals For security reasons, exam material is not available for review. Neither the staff of The Chauncey Group nor the CFP™ Board will discuss specific exam questions. You may submit your comments about exam questions, in writing, to: CFP Board’s Board of Examiners 1700 Broadway, Suite 2100 Denver, CO 80290-2101 The Board of Examiners will review comments relating to the exam but will not make written responses to comments. If you feel your answer sheet was scored incorrectly, you may request a hand scoring. Submit your request, in writing, to the CFP™ Board. With your request, include your name, exam date, a $40 processing fee, and the reason you are requesting hand scoring. This request must be made within 30 calendar days of the postmark date on your score report. Requests made after the 30 days will not be honored. In the event there is a discrepancy between the hand- scored and machine-scored results, hand-scored results will prevail. Appeals of exam policies are handled by the CFP™ Board’s Board of Examiners, which meets three times a year. Specific requests for appeals must be made in writing and addressed to the Board of Examiners in care of the CFP™ Board. Appeals will be reviewed by the Board of Examiners at its regularly scheduled meetings. 13
  14. 14. Reference Guide to CFP™ Certification For more information on the processes involved to be a Certified Financial Planner™ please read the Guide to CFP™ Certification††. This reference is included in the first shipment of books if you are enrolled in Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services online Certificate in Financial Planning Program. If you are not enrolled with Kaplan College and Dearborn Financial Services, you may contact the CFP™ Board of Standards to purchase a copy: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards 1700 Broadway, Suite 2100 Denver, CO 80290-2101 P: (800) 487-1497 (303) 860-7500 F: (303)860-7388 E: W: 14
  15. 15. Faculty and Advisors Addendum 1 Keith R. Fevurly, CFP ™ , MBA, JD, LLM Jeffrey B. Mershon, CPA, CFP ™ , MBA Executive Program Director, Kaplan College Financial Planning Assistant Dean of Students and Associate Director, Kaplan Education Program College Financial Planning Education Program Keith Fevurly has been involved in the education of personal financial Jeffrey Mershon has been involved in the education and regulation planners for over 15 years. He has responsibility for development and of personal financial planners for over 10 years and has provided administration of curriculum. He has experience as Chief Operating consulting services to many organizations within the profession. Officer of a private business as well as several years as an estate tax Jeff served as Assistant Executive Director and Director of Post attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. His articles have appeared Certification at the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, in Personal Financial Planning, Journal of Accountancy, Broker World, Inc. As a CPA, Jeff has served as a tax accountant, controller, treasurer, Bestis Review, Estate Planning, etc. partner and proprietor for various firms. Michael L. Wilson, CFP ™ , MBA Mandell S. Winter, Jr., CFP™, CLU, ChFC, MBA, BS Instructor Instructor Michael L. Wilson, CFPTM, is an instructor at Kaplan College and the Mandell S. Winter, Jr., CFP™, an instructor for Kaplan College, has owner of Integrity Financial Planning, located in Orland, IN. Prior over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Most to Integrity, he worked for over two years as a faculty member at the of those years were spent working directly with clients. He spent six College for Financial Planning in Denver, training other financial years on the faculty of The College for Financial Planning and concur- advisors. Mike has extensive experience in the mutual fund industry, rently taught at Metropolitan State College of Denver. His field and having worked for 10 years with Fidelity Investments and Invesco teaching experience encompasses financial planning, insurance plan- Mutual Funds. He has an MBA in Finance from Baylor University ning, employee benefits, retirement, estate, and business planning. (Waco, TX) and is a Certified Financial PlannerTM certificant. Mike Mandell has authored many articles that have been published nation- is also a Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC) and Certified ally in financial services publications, and has been a guest speaker Retirement Planning Counselor (CRC). for various organizations. Mr. Winter has an MBA from Golden Gate University (San Fransisco, CA) a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and both a CLU and a ChFC from The American College. 15
  16. 16. Board of Advisors Harold R. Evensky, CFP ™ , MS™ past Chair of the International CFPTM Council. Worth magazine Harold Evensky, Chairman of the Evensky Group, served as Vice recently named Carter one of the Top 250 Financial Planners. President of Investments with major investment banking firms. He Frequently quoted in such publications as the New York Times, Money speaks at conventions, including the AICPA, the ICFP, the IAFP, the magazine, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and The Dallas Morning American Society CLU and ChFC, and the AAII. He is the past Chair News, Carter is a pioneer of the financial planning profession. of the International CFPTM Council, the CFPTM Board of Governors, the Board of Examiners and the Board of Appeals. He writes for Peter Berkery, CFP ™ , MA, JD, LLM and Financial Advisor Magazine. Listed by Financial Peter Berkery, Associate Publisher, Securities at CCH, INC., is respon- Planning Magazine as one of the five Movers, Shakers and Decision- sible for a $35 million line of products that are relied upon by tens Makers and among the 25 Power Elite by Investment News. of thousands of lawyers, accountants and securities regulators, includ- ing: newsletters, journals, print and electronic research products and Joan H. Peurifoy, CFP ™ , BA software tools. As Director of Business Development for CCHs tax Joan Peurifoy, Regional Director for Financial Network publishing unit, he was responsible for the acquisition of the product lines of eight companies. He is a published author, quoted on current Investment developments in taxation and a columnist for Accounting Today. Corporation and President of FN Insurance Services of Texas, Inc. has served as past Chairman of Ethics Committee of National IAFP. Scott M. Kahan, CFP ™ , BA Joan has had innumerable speaking engagements over the past 22 Scott Kahan, President of Financial Asset Management Corporation, years. In addition, she is a contributor of articles to numerous finan- teaches collegiate financial planning courses. Scott received an “Award cial planning publications. She enjoys teaching college-level financial for Teaching Excellence” in financial management. He has provided planning courses. She also does work with Employee Financial corporate training for banks and financial planning seminars for Training Programs at large Dallas area corporations. employees of corporations and professional associations. Kahan often appears on CNBC and CNN to discuss Investment and Financial Tim Kochis, CFP ™ , MBA, JD Planning issues. He is quoted in local and national publications Tim Kochis, President of Kochis, Fitz, Tracy, Fitzhugh, & Gott, Inc., and has contributed to the book Inc. Yourself. He serves on the FPA’s has served as National Director of Personal Financial Planning for National Board of Directors, is past President and Chair of the Metro both Deloitte & Touche and for Bank of America. He is the past New York ICFP Society and served on the national board of the ICFP. Chairman of the International CFP Council, past President of the CFP Board of Standards, Inc. and past Chairman of the International Kenneth J. Zahn, CFP ™ CFP Board of Examiners. Tim has been named Financial Planner Kenneth Zahn, Certified Financial Planner and educator has been of the Year by the San Francisco chapter of IAFP. Listed in Worth active doing fee-only planning as well as handling a variety of insur- magazine’s Best Financial Advisers each year since the list was initially ance and investment products for individuals, small businesses, and published. Kochis is frequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal and professionals for over two decades. Zahn has a 16-year history of The New York Times. He is on the Advisory Board of CCH Financial instructing all the CFPTM Board Registered Program courses for vari- and Estate Planning Reporter. ous organizations. He was one of the original founding officers of the Tampa Bay Society of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners. Bill E. Carter, CFP™, CLU, ChFC Zahn has been developing continuing education courses for insurance Bill Carter, President of Carter Financial Management, has served agents and financial planners since 1990 and has been very successful as Chairman of the Board and President of the IAFP. He is past with his CFPTM Certification Examination test preparation business. President and past Chairman of the Board of Governors of the He has also been an NASD arbitrator and an expert witness for both Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. and also is the plaintiff and defendant in financial planning cases. * Kaplan College, is a regionally accredited institution, that offers the online Certificate in Financial Planning program in an innovative, independent self-study learning environment, accessible 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, from any part of the globe. ** CFP™, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP ® are certification marks owned by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. These marks are awarded to students who successfully complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. Your institution’s name does not certify students to use the CFP™, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and certification marks. CFP certification is solely granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to those persons who, in addition to completing an educational require- ment such as this CFP Board-Registered Program, have met ethics, experience and examination requirements. 1-18-02 16