The Registered Financial Consultant (RFC®) is a professional designation awarded by the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC) to those financial advisors who meet high standards of education, experience and integrity.
The IARFC is an organization of proven financial professionals formed to foster public confidence in the financial planning profession, to help financial advisors exchange planning techniques, and to give deserved recognition to those practitioners who are truly qualified and committed to the professional process and education.
Need for Continued Education
In a society that grows more complex every day, consumers are presented with the need to balance personal financial security with the constant pressures of family, career, community responsibilities and personal enrichment. The financial marketplace is ever-changing with new laws, regulations, products and conflicting media messages. Making the right moves at the right time is critical to accomplishing personal objectives.
A professional advisor guides the financial planning process: goal identification, data organization, analysis, problem identification, recommendations, and most important — plan implementation and results monitoring.
Originally established in 1984, the organization was initially a small group of qualified specialists. In 1994 it adopted a revised charter and in 2000 expanded its registration to an international focus. The IARFC is the only financial planning professional association that requires its members to meet stringent requirements: experience, education, examination, licensing, maintenance of proficiency with a minimum of 40 hours per year of continuing education in the field of financial planning, annual re-certification, integrity, adherence to a strict code of ethics, compliance, and, in 2009, plan writing capacity. The IARFC is convinced that extensive on-going professional education is required for an advisor to serve the public effectively.
While serving a number of needs for its members (sponsoring learning seminars, providing a clearinghouse for industry information, and distributing updates on tax laws and legislation affecting financial planning), a primary purpose of the IARFC is to provide the public with a pool of well-qualified practitioners from which to choose a personal advisor.
The IARFC limits the RFC designation only to those applicants who meet its high standards of qualification. Furthermore, it removes the RFC designation from anyone who fails to maintain proficiency through substantial continuing education, or who betrays the public trust by failing to live up to its Code of Ethics or by having a professional license revoked or suspended for any reason.
- Experience. Minimum of four years experience as a full-time practitioner or educator in the field of financial planning or financial services.
- Education. A baccalaureate or graduate degree in financial planning services such as economics, accounting, business, statistics and finance; or have earned a respected professional degree or designation; OR completed an approved curriculum at an accredited institution or qualified association.
- Examination. Must have completed a comprehensive written examination.
- Licensing. Meet local licensing requirements for all products offered. A non-licensed fee-only planner or trust officer submits information on the RIA or ARIA or conduct procedures.
- Integrity. A clean record of personal and business integrity with no suspensions or revocation of any professional licenses.
- Ethics. Subscribe and continually adhere to the RFC Code of Ethics.
- Continuing Education. Complete 40 hours per year of Professional CE in personal finance and professional practice management.
- Ethics CE. Complete an approved curriculum on operational ethics and standards of conduct.
- Compliance. Provide annual assurance of continued compliance and operation.
- Plan Writing Capacity. Can produce a high-quality comprehensive personal financial plan in accordance with the Financial Planning Process™.
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