Degrees & Certifications
CFP, CFA, CPA, CAIA, CLU. These are just some of the acronyms in the alphabet soup of financial certifications. Here we break down what they are and how to attain them.
Degrees & Certifications
What’s the difference between a CFA and CPA?
A chartered financial analyst (CFA) analyzes corporate financials to make investment recommendations to clients. CFAs are often hired by investment managers, but they are also qualified to advise on financial planning and wealth management. A certified public accountant (CPA) produces and audits the financial reports being analyzed by CFAs. CPAs can also assist with tax reporting and business structure.Learn More: CFA vs. CPA: What’s the Difference?
How much do accountants make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $77,250 in 2021. Though wages vary across the country. In Washington, D.C., the median annual wage is $110,240 compared to about $66,000 in Mississippi and Nevada.Learn More: Where do Accountants Earn the Most Money?
Do I need a license to sell stocks?
Yes. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which oversees securities licensing requirements, administers exams to determine a broker’s eligibility to sell securities. The Series 6 license allows holders to sell “packaged” investments like mutual funds. The Series 7 license is a more general securities license that authorizes holders to sell any security except real estate, life insurance, and commodities futures. To sell commodities futures, you must hold a Series 3 license. Some brokers may also require licenses issued by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
What is an actuary?
Actuaries estimate risk, often for insurance companies and banks. An actuary uses statistical models to determine the level of risk involved in a certain investment and, thus, helps establish the terms of deals.Learn More: Accountant vs. Actuary: What’s the Difference?
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is a nongovernmental, self-regulatory organization that writes and enforces rules governing registered U.S. securities brokers and broker-dealers. FINRA also administers the exams required to sell securities.
The term realtor is often used synonymously with real estate broker or agent. However, the term is officially a trademark of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which defines the term as any real estate professional who is a member of the NAR and adheres to its code of ethics.
Certified Financial Planner
Certified Financial Planner is a professional designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., to finance professionals who meet requirements related to education, experience, examination, and ethics. The CFP designation recognize’s a financial planner’s ability to advise on a wide range of financial matters including investments, retirement planning, and taxes.
Commodity Trading Advisor
A commodity trading advisor provides clients advice regarding the trading of futures contracts, options on futures, and certain foreign exchange contracts. CTAs are required to register with National Futures Association, a self-regulatory industry organization. Registration often requires candidates to pass the Series 3 National Commodity Futures Exam.