What Is A Registered Financial Consultant Many Americans find creating and adhering to a financial plan to be a challenging task. To assist with this, some individuals turn to financial advisors or consultants for guidance. Among these professionals, there are Registered Financial Consultants (RFCs) who specialize in helping clients achieve their financial goals. If you are seeking advice on managing your assets, it’s worth considering working with a financial advisor. Here’s what you need to know about the RFC designation and how it can benefit you:
What Is a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC)?
A Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) is a financial expert who possesses a comprehensive understanding of the financial services industry. RFCs demonstrate a high level of competence and are skilled in designing personalized financial plans tailored to their clients’ specific needs.
The International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC) grants the RFC designation to eligible financial professionals who apply for it. This nonprofit organization plays a vital role in building public confidence in financial experts by facilitating knowledge exchange, ensuring adherence to ethical standards, and offering continuing education to enhance their skills.
Qualifications for Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) Designation
To be eligible for the RFC designation, applicants must meet specific qualifications, including:
- A minimum of three years of experience as a practitioner in the financial planning or services field.
- One of the following educational requirements:
- A professional designation such as AAMS, CFA, CFP, ChFC, CLU, CPA, EA, or LUTCF.
- A Series 65 Securities license or a combination of licenses like Series 6 & 63, Series 6 & 66, Series 7 & 63, or Series 7 & 66.
- A life insurance license.
- A bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree in business, finance, economics, or a related field.
- Completion of the entire course requirements for specific IARFC designations, such as RFA, RFC, or MRFC.
Unlike some other certifications, there are no coursework or exam requirements for RFC designation. However, all RFC applicants must agree to abide by the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants’ code of ethics and pay an application fee of $100, along with a $250 membership and designation fee.
After receiving the RFC designation, professionals must fulfill ongoing continuing education requirements. RFCs are required to dedicate a minimum of 40 hours to continuing education credits every two years, focusing on personal finance or professional practice management topics. A portion of these credits, specifically four hours, must be dedicated to ethics.
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Financial Consultants vs. Financial Advisors
The terms “financial consultant” and “financial advisor” are often used interchangeably. Both professionals offer expertise in making complex financial decisions and excel in creating financial plans tailored to individual needs. They may have studied economics, accounting, finance, or hold advanced certifications like MBAs.
While the RFC designation is one of several certifications financial consultants may possess, another example is the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designation. ChFC certifications are similar to Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations and are issued by the Institute of Financial Consultants upon completion of five online modules, 20 hours of continuing education credits, and passing an online exam. Both CFPs and ChFCs offer financial recommendations based on an individual’s unique financial situation.
Notably, the RFC designation does not require a comprehensive board exam like the CFP designation. However, RFCs can provide tailored financial advice based on a client’s specific financial circumstances.
How to Find a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC)
Finding the right financial advisor or consultant is essential, as everyone’s financial situation is unique. Professionals often have expertise in specific areas or cater to specific types of investors based on net worth. To find a financial advisor who aligns with your financial needs, consider using online search tools or seeking referrals from friends and family members in similar financial circumstances.
Once you have potential candidates in mind, verify their credentials and background using resources like BrokerCheck. When you meet with prospective advisors, prepare a list of questions to gain insights into their practice. Inquire about their fee structure, account minimums, areas of expertise, clientele, certifications, and investment philosophy. Meeting with multiple candidates can help you make an informed decision.
Conclusion : What Is A Registered Financial Consultant
Selecting a financial advisor is a crucial decision, and their certifications and expertise are fundamental factors to consider. It’s essential to work with an advisor or consultant who possesses the knowledge, education, and background relevant to your specific financial needs. Just as you wouldn’t consult a dermatologist for a cardiac issue, choose an advisor whose expertise aligns with your financial goals.
If you’re still searching for a Registered Financial Consultant or another qualified financial advisor, various tools can assist you in locating the right professional for your needs. SmartAsset’s free tool, for instance, matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, allowing you to interview them at no cost and select the ideal advisor to help you achieve your financial goals. Start your search today to find the right advisor for you.