In the alphabet soup of financial services, you are, in a sense, what you eat. For advisors who want to gain the knowledge that comes with achieving additional certifications, qualifications, or registrations, there is another bonus: the cachet and prestige that can go along with those efforts. IA thought it would be interesting to find out how advisors want to differentiate themselves and their practices.

By a very wide margin, more advisors are planning to get their Certified Financial Planning (CFP) credential than any other, according to results of the latest online IA Poll. IA asked readers “What additional credentials do you plan to get over the next five years?” A whopping 40% of readers who answered the poll said that over the next five years, they plan to get their CFP. Another 10% selected the Chartered Financial Consultant, (ChFC), as their next credential. In a three-way tie for third place, with 8% each, were those planning to register their firm as a Registered Investment Advisor, (RIA), or to attain their Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential. Accredited Investment Fiduciary, (AIF), was next with 6% of the responses. Finally, NASD Series 7, 63, 65, etc., Certified Investment Management Consultant, (CIMC), and CPA or Personal Financial Specialist, (PFS), each received 4% of the tally.