Enhancing the professionalism of financial advisors in the best interests of the consumer

Here's a guide to the designations to look for when choosing a financial advisor. If you need specialized advice, you may want to look for an advisor with a designation that indicates expertise in that area.

Insurance and financial advisors can study for the CFP®, CLU® and CHS designations through Advocis.

Certified Financial Planner, CFP®
The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is an internationally recognized standard for financial planning. It is granted by the Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC). Advocis is one of the FPSC's founding member organizations offering courses leading to the CFP designation. An advisor with a CFP may help you with personal financial planning and offer advice on investment products and strategies.

Certified Health Insurance Specialist, CHS™
The Certified Health Insurance Specialist (CHS™) was established by The Institute for Advanced Financial Education to raise the professional standards and practice methods of financial advisors in the health insurance sector. The CHS designation positions financial advisors to meet the growing market demand for informed living benefits advice, through education and practice expertise in all relevant health insurance areas including disability insurance, critical illness, long-term care insurance, basic and extended health insurance, drug and dental insurance, emergency medical insurance plans for travellers and insurance that provides immediate access to healthcare.

Chartered Life Underwriter, CLU®
The Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) is a professional financial advisor specializing in developing effective solutions for individuals, business owners and professionals in the areas of income replacement, risk management, estate planning, and wealth transfer. For more than 80 years, the CLU designation has been widely recognized as a mark of excellence in the industry.

Chartered Financial Consultant, CH.F.C.
A Chartered Financial Consultant (CH.F.C.) is a financial advisor with advanced knowledge in wealth accumulation and retirement planning. An advisor with a CH.F.C. is an expert in retirement planning and capital accumulation strategies.

Other Industry Designations

Canadian Investment Management, CIM
Advisors with the CIM designation are trained to offer advice on structuring a stock portfolio. The designation is conferred by the Canadian Securities Institute and indicates successful completion of courses in investment management and portfolio management.

Certified General Accountant, CGA
Advisors with the CGA designation are members of the Certified General Accountants Association and have completed the CGA program, which combines training in theoretical and analytical knowledge together with practical work experience. They have extensive training in accounting, tax and financial management and are required to adhere to a code of conduct and a mandatory continuing education program.

Certified Management Accountant, CMA
Advisors with the CMA designation are strategic financial management professionals who combine accounting expertise and business acumen with professional management skills to provide leadership, innovation and an integrating perspective to organizational decision-making. The CMA designation in management accounting is granted and regulated by CMA Canada under the authorization of provincial legislation.

Chartered Accountant, CA
Advisors with the CA designation are trained to provide advice in accounting, auditing and tax planning. The CA program combines academic study, professional education and practical working experience and ensures that students develop analytical, financial, accounting, communication and leadership skills.

Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute, FCSI®
The FCSI designation is awarded by the Canadian Securities Institute to financial services professionals who have met exacting standards for industry experience, advanced education and solid endorsement from their peers and superiors.

Registered Financial Planner, R.F.P.
The R.F.P. designation is conferred by the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners. R.F.P.s are full-time practitioners required to follow a comprehensive process factoring in all related components to help their clients navigate through complex financial situations. To earn the designation, R.F.P.s must successfully complete a case-based technical examination and submit a multifaceted, comprehensive financial plan for peer review.