Professional certification in financial services

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Following is a partial list of professional certifications in financial services, with an overview of the educational and continuing requirements for each; see Professional certification #Accountancy, auditing and finance and Category:Professional certification in finance for all articles.

Within the finance industry, professional designations have served as external validation of expertise for decades,[1] and the literature supports the importance of these professional designations within the larger finance community. As the field of finance has increased in complexity in recent years, the number of available designations has also increased. Correspondingly, some will have more recognition than others.[1][2][3]

Note that in the US, many state securities and insurance regulators do not allow financial professionals to use a designation —in particular a "senior" designation — unless it has been accredited by either the American National Standards Institute or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.[4]

Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement[edit]

The Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) is a professional accreditation in the field of investment performance analysis. It includes investment performance measurement and attribution. It is offered by the CIPM Association, a body associated with the CFA Institute.

Certificate in Quantitative Finance[edit]

The Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF)[5] is an online part-time financial engineering program; it was founded by Paul Wilmott. The CQF can be completed as a single six month program or split into two three-month levels. It is designed for in-depth training for individuals in derivatives, IT, quantitative trading, insurance, model validation or risk management. The program’s focus is on the practical implementation of techniques ("real-world quantitative finance"), it thus incorporates an element of questioning and analyzing models and methods; it assumes some background in mathematics and programming. [6] See also under Quantitative analysis (finance) #Education and Financial modeling #Quantitative finance.

Certified Financial Planner[edit]

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is a certification mark for financial planners conferred by the CFP Board of Standards. To receive authorization to use the designation, the candidate must meet education, examination, experience and ethics requirements, and pay an ongoing certification fee.

Certified Financial Technician[edit]

The Certified Financial Technician (CFTe)[7] is a designation in Technical analysis offered by the International Federation of Technical Analysts (IFTA). It comprises two sequential examinations; designants must also hold a university degree, and have three years relevant experience. With further experience requirements met, and submission of a research thesis, the MFTA (Master of Financial Technical Analysis)[8] may be obtained. Members are in 22 countries.

Certified Investment Professional[edit]

The Certified Investment Professional (CIP) designation[9] is a financial certification for professionals in securities operations and financial services; it is conferred by the Foundation CIP.[10] To receive authorization to use the designation, the candidate must complete the 3 level CIP Program, meet education requirements, defend and present a thesis, and pay an ongoing permanent education fee.

Certified International Investment Analyst[edit]

Certified International Investment Analyst CIIA is an internationally recognised advanced professional qualification for individuals working in the finance and investment industry. The CIIA maintains standards both at the national and international levels: ACIIA tests candidates at the local level (at their home country), and, having cleared those country specific exams, at the common international level. The topics are largely similar to the CFA; see below.

Certified Treasury Professional[edit]

The Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation is a certification for treasurers, cash managers, treasury managers, and other treasury-related professionals administered by the Bethesda, Maryland-based Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). The CTP was formerly known as the Certified Cash Manager or CCM designation but was renamed due to treasury's increasing role in managing the entire balance sheet and implementing the strategic direction prescribed by Chief Financial Officers. The CTP certification is held by over 20,000 finance professionals and, in the US, is considered[citation needed] the leading certification in the treasury management profession. See also, Association of Corporate Treasurers, which confers the equivalent European qualification (MCT).

Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst[edit]

The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation is a financial certification for investment professionals conferred by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst. The curriculum is designed to provide finance professionals with a broad base of knowledge in alternative investments. Candidates must complete two examinations in succession and pay an ongoing certification fee to retain rights to use the financial designation.

Chartered Development Finance Analyst[edit]

A chartered development finance analyst (CDFA) is a specialist in development finance theory and practice that has been professionally accredited by the Chartered Institute of Development Finance;[11] the professional association which engages with academic institutions, development finance institutions, and support agencies to support and maintain ethical conduct and professionalism in the development finance discipline globally. It is the highest professional qualification for development finance practitioners.

Chartered Financial Analyst[edit]

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a post-graduate professional qualification offered internationally by the American-based CFA Institute. The program covers a considerably wide range of topics relating to advanced investment management and security analysis - thus economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, alternative investments and portfolio management - and provides a generalist knowledge of other areas of finance. Candidates must complete three examinations in succession, and thereafter adhere to a code of ethics, and pay an ongoing certification fee to retain rights to use the financial designation.

Chartered Market Technician[edit]

The Chartered Market Technician (CMT) is a designation in technical analysis offered by the CMT Association. The program comprises three examination levels, certifying that the individual is competent in the use of technical analysis, and knowledgeable re the underlying theory. To earn the designation, candidates must hold a degree, and have three years relevant experience.

CISI Diploma[edit]

The CISI Diploma in Capital Markets (previously, SII Diploma), offered by the UK based Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, comprises modular training in securities, financial markets, and then specific instruments. The three exams typically take between 18 months and two years to complete. Candidates become full Members and may use the post-nominal "MCSI".

Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner[edit]

The Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (FChFP) designation is a financial planning designation issued by the Asia Pacific Financial Services Association (APFinSA). The designation was developed by the National Association of Malaysian Life Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAMLIFA) in 1996 and later on adopted by APFinSA (of which NAMLIFA is a member) in 2001 as the flagship designation for its 11 member associations.

Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst[edit]

A Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) has completed all the courses and requirements set by the Corporate Finance Institute to obtain the designation. The program focuses heavily on applications of corporate finance, including: financial modeling, valuation, analysis, Excel, presentations, and other topics.

Financial Risk Manager[edit]

The Financial Risk Manager (FRM) is a professional certification in risk management offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). [12] [13] [14] The coverage is over two papers. Certificants are in more than 190 countries and territories worldwide,[15] and have taken an average of two years to earn their Certification. [16]

GAFM Designations[edit]

The Board of Standards of GAFM, the Global Academy of Finance and Management,[17] confers designations in various areas of finance. The GAFM is TUV Accredited and ISO Certified. (Although see American Academy of Financial Management for discussion.) These designations include:

  • The Accredited Financial Analyst (AFA)[18] - a certification mark for financial analysts. Coverage includes the requisite methods for business valuation and Fundamental analysis, but also, the role related research and reporting techniques. To receive authorization to use the designation, the candidate must meet education, examination, experience and ethics requirements, and pay an ongoing certification fee. (AFA overlaps the Financial Analyst Designate and Chartered Market Analyst designations).
  • The Master Financial Controller (MFC) - a certification mark for financial professionals engaged at the senior level of corporate finance, such as in the role of a CFO, Financial Controller or Financial Director. Candidates must sit an executive conversion program, have at least 7 years working experience and pass a rigorous exam to qualify.[19]
  • The Master Financial Planner (MFP) - a certification mark for college educated wealth planners. To receive authorization to use the designation, the candidate must meet education, AACSB or ACBSP accredited college examinations, experience and ethics requirements, and pay an ongoing good standing fee.[19]

International Certificate in Corporate Finance[edit]

The International Certificate in Corporate Finance (ICCF)[20] is a professional designation for employees in corporate finance, covering financial analysis, valuation and decision making. The program comprises three 6-week online courses, three major cases studies, and a 2 hour final exam. The program is delivered by First Finance Institute[21] in partnership with the following four business schools: HEC Paris, Columbia, Wharton and IE Business School.

Professional Risk Manager[edit]

The Professional Risk Manager (PRM), offered by PRMIA, emphasizes practice-related skills and knowledge required within the risk management profession, and financial risk management more particularly; it additionally requires a commitment to professional ethics. Its coverage, structure and recognition are similar to the FRM.[2][1]

Registered Financial Planner[edit]

Registered Financial Planner (RFP) refers to one of several separate designations in financial planning; there is currently no connection between these.

  • In Canada, the R.F.P. designation is conferred by the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners. To become an R.F.P. in Canada, candidates must pass exams, submit a sample comprehensive financial plan and meet education and experience requirements.
  • In Malaysia, the Registered Financial Planner (RFP) designation is conferred by the Malaysian Financial Planning Council (MFPC). It is one of the recognised qualification by the Securities Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia for those wishing to apply for a financial planner or financial adviser licence. See Financial Planners in Malaysia.
  • In the United States, the RFP designation is offered by the Registered Financial Planners Institute.
  • In Hong Kong, the Society of Registered Financial Planners offers the HKRFP, valid in Hong Kong and China.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ernest N. Biktimirov (2012). Global Alphabet Soup: Internationally Recognized Professional Designations in Finance, Journal of Financial Education 38 (3/4), Fall/Winter 2012, 18-32
  2. ^ a b The Rise of the Chief Risk Officer, Institutional Investor (March 2017).
  3. ^ "Is Your Advisor Pumping Up His Credentials?", The Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2010.
  4. ^ accredited-designations, FINRA.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "preparation"
  7. ^ Certified Financial Technician,
  8. ^ Master of Financial Technical Analysis,
  9. ^ The Certified Investment Professional Program
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ SEC(Securities and Exchange Commission),
  13. ^ The Global Association of Risk Professionals,!/frm/
  14. ^ Linkedin,
  15. ^ Official Candidate Guide,
  16. ^ GARP Frequently-Asked-Questions -EXAM regulations-,!/frm/frequently-asked-questions
  17. ^ "The GAFM Global Academy of Finance and Management". Retrieved 2016-05-17.
  18. ^ AFA,
  19. ^ a b AAFM Board of Standards
  20. ^ International Certificate in Corporate Finance
  21. ^ First Finance Institute