How to pick a financial adviser

Credentials matter

The letters after an adviser’s name can tell you something about their expertise.

The best credentials to look for are these:

  • CFP: Certified Financial Planner

  • CFA: Chartered Financial Analyst

  • CPA/PFS: Certified Public Accountant/Personal Financial Specialist

  • CIMA: Certified Investment Management Analyst

Advisers with these credentials have met some of the highest standards in the field.

They have passed rigorous exams and acquired several years of relevant work experience.

They complete continuing education requirements every year to stay on top of new developments in the field, like law and tax changes.

They also must adhere to a strict code of ethics to maintain their credentials.

Experience is also important. An adviser with none of these credentials and 10-plus years of experience may provide better advice than a young certified financial planner.