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Understanding Advisor's Designations

Finding a financial professional can be a daunting task. There are literally thousands of people who work with portfolios and retirement accounts in the United States, and choosing the right one for you can seem impossible. How do you choose a needle from a seemingly endless stack of needles? Financial professionals understand this problem, and do everything that they can to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Financial advisors have different educational backgrounds, experiences, and work with different companies - all of which leave you with a host of variables with little solid ground to judge them by.

This is why special designations were created. They level the playing field, allowing investors to see which advisors have gone that extra step to make themselves the most qualified professionals. Designations are often earned through required coursework and examinations that test an advisor's knowledge in various specialized areas. Some designations are designed specifically for advisors who work with retirees, while other designations show specialization in insurance or business. No two designations are exactly alike, and some are more reknowned than others.

We at WiserAdvisor have taken it upon ourselves to de-mystify some of the most commonly used designations, and hopefully answer the basic questions that you might have about what the designation means. We have also provided you with some helpful links to direct you to the organizations that confer each of them. Use the menus to jump to the particular designation, license or organization that you are interested in.

WiserAdvisor strives to bring you an extensive listing of pre-screened financial professionals on the internet. If you are interested in speaking with one of our professionals, please give us some brief information on our matching page.


Accredited Asset Management Specialist (AAMS)
Accredited Business Accountant (ABA)
Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR)
Accredited Buyer Representative Manager (ABRM)
Accredited Estate Planner (AEP)
Accredited Farm Manager (AFM)
Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)
Accredited Land Consultant (ALC)
Accredited Management Organization (AMO)
Accredited Residential Manager (ARM)
Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARP)
Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA)
Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA)
Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP)
Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (AWMA)
Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS)
Associate of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries (ACA)
Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA)
Board Certified in Estate Planning (BCE)
Board Certified in Insurance (BCI)
Board Certified in Mutual Funds (BCMF)
Board Certified in Securities (BCS)
Certified Annuity Advisor (CAA)
Certified Annuity Consultant (CAC)
Certified Annuity Specialist (CAS)
Certified Asset Protection Planner (CAPP)
Certified Buyer Representative (CBR)
Certified College Planning Specialist (CCPS)
Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)
Certified Divorce Planner (CDP)
Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS)
Certified Estate Advisor (CEA)
Certified Estate Planner (CEP)
Certified Federal Employee Benefits Specialist (CFEBS)
Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
Certified Financial Services Security Professional (CFSSP)
Certified Fund Specialist (CFS)
Certified IRA Services Professional (CISP)
Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS)
Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA)
Certified Investment Management Consultant (CIMC)
Certified Investment Specialist (CIS)
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA)
Certified Pension Consultant (CPC)
Certified Philanthropic Development (CPhD)
Certified Property Manager (CPM)
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Certified Real Estate Appraiser (CREA)
Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB)
Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM)
Certified Retirement Administrator (CRA)
Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC)
Certified Retirement Financial Advisor (CRFA)
Certified Retirement Services Professional (CRSP)