Definitions of Professional Designations
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) serves the accounting profession, providing the training, professional skills, programs, and services to support professionalism in the accounting industry.
CPA® — Certified Public Accountant®
Accountants who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional state education and experience requirements for certification may use the designation. CPAs receive special training in accounting and auditing, and may attest to the reasonableness of disclosures, the freedom from material misstatement, and the adherence to the applicable generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in financial statements.
American Bankers Association Designations
Representing financial institutions of all sizes and types, the American Bankers Association advocates on behalf of its members to policy makers, legislators, regulators, the media, and the public.
CTFA® — Certified Trust and Financial Advisor®
The Certified Trust and Financial Advisor certification establishes a recognized standard of knowledge and competence for the trust and wealth advisory field. It provides employers and clients with a tool to identify skilled, knowledgeable professionals and supports the benefits of professional continuing education and development.
American College of Financial Services Designations
As a leader in financial services education, the American College of Financial Services partners with companies and professionals to promote ongoing education, ethical practices, and the pursuit of new knowledge for the benefit of society
CLU® — Chartered Life Underwriter®
The Chartered Life Underwriter® is a respected designation of insurance expertise, encompassing an advanced course of study providing in-depth knowledge on the insurance needs of individuals, business owners, and professional clients.
REBC® — Registered Employee Benefit Consultant®
The Registered Employee Benefits Consultant® designation provides those who earn it a deep, practical knowledge on pensions and retirement plan funding, installation, and administration. The program also covers group medical plans, long-term care, executive compensation, personnel management and more.
American Institute of Retirement Education Designations
The American Institute of Retirement Education, LLC (AIRE, LLC) is a partnership of the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) and the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA).
ERPA® — Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent®
The Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) classification denotes a retirement plan professional who is highly competent in their field and plays an active and critical role in representing employers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on retirement plan matters. The IRS awarded AIRE the contract to administer examinations for the ERPA Program.
The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) is a non-profit professional organization providing education for retirement plan professionals and creating a public policy framework aimed at giving every working American the ability to have a comfortable retirement.
QKA — Qualified 401(k) Administrator
The Qualified Pension Administrator (QKA) designation is offered by the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA). The QKA designation focuses on 401(k) plan recordkeeping, nondiscrimination testing, and administrative aspects that 401(k) administrators need to know. Credential holders are subject to minimum experience and continuing education requirements.
QPA — Qualified Pension Administrator
The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) created the Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA) credential to recognize professionals who are qualified to perform the technical and administrative functions of qualified plan administration. QPAs assist employers, actuaries, and consultants in performing functions such as determination of eligibility benefits, computation of benefits, plan recordkeeping, trust accounting and disclosure, and compliance requirements.
CFA Institute Designations
The CFA Institute is an investment industry organization whose mission is to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society.
CFA® — Chartered Financial Analyst Charterholder®
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter is a professional designation established in 1962 and awarded by CFA Institute. To earn the CFA charter, candidates must pass three sequential, six-hour examinations over two to four years. The three levels of the CFA Program test a wide range of investment topics, including ethical and professional standards, fixed-income analysis, alternative and derivative investments, and portfolio management and wealth planning. In addition, CFA charterholders must have at least four years of acceptable professional experience in the investment decision-making process and must commit to abide by, and annually reaffirm, their adherence to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.
CIPM® — Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement®
The Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) is a professional designation established and awarded by the CFA institute. The program requires candidates to pass a series of exams covering investment performance and risk evaluation, with emphasis on ethical and professional standards.
Claritas® Investment Certificate
The Claritas Investment Certificate is a global self-study education program and exam designed to give anyone working in financial services a clear understanding of the investment industry and their professional responsibilities within it. Claritas certificate holders have demonstrated an understanding of financial industry essentials that will benefit clients, financial organizations, and the global industry.
CFP Board Designations
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) was founded in 1985 to serve the public interest by promoting the value of professional, competent, and ethical financial planning services, as represented by those who have attained CFP certification.
CFP® — Certified Financial Planner
The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional designation established in 1985 by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Certification identifies professionals who have met the high standards of competency and ethics established and enforced by CFP Board. The CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct require CFP professionals to act in their clients' best interests.
College for Financial Planning Designations
Founded in 1972, the College for Financial Planning is a premier provider of financial planning education. The College is a wholly owned subsidiary of Apollo Group, Inc. located in Phoenix Arizona.
CMFC® — Certified Mutual Fund CounselorSM
Individuals who hold the CMFC® designation have completed a course of study encompassing all aspects of mutual funds and their uses as investment vehicles. Additionally, individuals must pass an end-of-course examination that tests their ability to synthesize complex concepts and apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations.
fi360 is a leading organization for supporting the investment fiduciary process whose mission is to promote a culture of fiduciary responsibility and improve the decision making processes of investment fiduciaries. With defined Practices as their foundation, they offer training, tools, and resources in support of that mission.
AIF® — Accredited Investment Fiduciary®
The Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation represents that an individual has passed a rigorous training course and exam, demonstrating a thorough knowledge of and ability to apply fiduciary practices, and the legal and best practice framework they are built upon.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to provide investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of the securities industry.
CRCP™ — Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional™
The FINRA Institute at Wharton Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional™ (CRCP™) program provides compliance, legal and regulatory professionals with an in-depth understanding of the foundation, theory and practical application of securities laws and regulation.
Advanced University / College Degrees
MBA — Master of Business Administration
An MBA is a postgraduate degree achieved at a university or college providing theoretical and practical training to help graduates gain a better understanding of general business management functions. An MBA degree can focus on specific courses of study such as accounting, finance, or marketing.
MA — Master of Arts
An MA is a postgraduate degree achieved at a university or college typically earned in a specific area of the humanities or sciences. It represents that an individual has engaged in further study and examination in the chosen area.
PhD — Doctor of Philosophy
A PhD is a postgraduate degree achieved at a university or college providing detailed and rigorous study in a specific field. PhD holders generally have submitted a project, thesis, or dissertation often consisting of a body of original academic research, which is in principle worthy of publication in a peer-reviewed context.
JD — Juris Doctorate
A JD is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law. Those who hold the degree are professionals committed to the practice of law.
SCC: Saturna Capital Corporation
SBS: Saturna Brokerage Services
STC: Saturna Trust Company
SSB: Saturna Sendirian Berhad