What are the differences between a CFP® and a Financial Advisor?

  • While most Certified Financial Planners™ (CFPs) call themselves financial advisors, not all financial advisors are CFPs. Understanding the difference is important for a few reasons.
  • A financial advisor can be anyone who helps you manage your money. There’s no specific licensing or certification process required for someone to call themselves a financial advisor. Typically, a financial advisor will have passed some kind of licensing exam that allows them to buy and sell securities on behalf of their clients.
  • A CFP® has proven their ability to provide comprehensive financial planning services and may also provide investment advice and recommendations. All CFPs must meet the same basic requirements to earn the privilege of carrying the CFP® certification. CFPs also must always act as fiduciaries when providing financial advice to their clients.
  • Unlike many financial advisors, all CFPs are held to a strict standard of fiduciary duty.