DEFINITION of 'Certified Trust and Financial Advisor - CTFA'

Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) is a professional designation offered by the American Bankers Association (ABA). This mark provides training and knowledge in taxes, investments, financial planning, trusts and estates. The CTFA credential is appropriate for professionals who have a career in banking, broking, financial planning, taxation or trust administration.

BREAKING DOWN 'Certified Trust and Financial Advisor - CTFA'

To receive the Certified Trust and Financial Advisor designation, candidates must have a minimum level of wealth management work experience and completed approved training programs. Applicants are also required to pass an examination successfully. Continuing education is needed to maintain the CTFA designation. (Looking at wealth management firms? For more, see: The Biggest and Best Wealth Management Firms.)

Certified Trust and Financial Advisor Requirements

Applicants must have three years of experience in wealth management and meet one of following training options:

  • Hold foundation, intermediate and advanced ABA Trust Certificates. These can be earned online at an ABA Trust School, at an ABA-led in-bank Trust School. If applicants complete all three certificates online, the ABA’s CTFA Exam Online Prep course is also required.

  • Completed Cannon Financial Institutes Trust School’s Level I, Level II and Level III courses.

  • Completed Campbell University’s Trust and Investment Management Degree.

        Or have:

  • Five years of wealth management experience and hold a bachelor’s degree.

  • 10 or more years of wealth management experience.

The ABA defines professional wealth management experience as providing client advice relating to trusts, estates, IRAs, qualified retirement plans, custody and individual asset management accounts. Providing specialty services in administration, investment management, tax, legal, finance and estate planning is also considered professional wealth management experience by the ABA.

As well as satisfying these requirements, applicants are required to sign the ABA Professional Certifications’ Code of Ethics statement.

Certified Trust and Financial Advisor Exam

Applicants must purchase the exam, which is $725. Retakes of the exam cost $425. The exam has a duration of four hours and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. Areas of knowledge tested include fiduciary and trust activities, financial planning, taxation law and planning, investment management and ethics. The exam also tests applicants’ ability to apply their knowledge to practical examples. Applicants are not permitted to use a calculator or any mobile device during the exam.

Certified Trust and Financial Advisor Renewal

To maintain the CTFA designation, holders must complete 45 CE credits every three years, adhere to the ABA Professional Certifications Code of Ethics and pay an annual renewal fee of $249. Individuals who hold two or more ABA certifications receive a renewal discount.

RELATED TERMS
  1. ABA Transit Number

    An ABA transit number that appear on standard checks and are ...
  2. Certified Credit Executive - CCE

    Certified Credit Executive (CCE) refers to a designation issued ...
  3. Certified Treasury Professional ...

    Certified treasury professional is a designation awarded to individuals ...
  4. Alimony Substitution Trust

    A trust agreement in which a divorced person agrees to pay spousal ...
  5. Trust Fund

    A trust fund is comprised of a variety of assets established ...
  6. Equity Unit Investment Trust

    An equity unit investment trust is a publicly offered, pooled ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Certifications For Estate Planning

    These certifications can lead to a promising career, but is estate planning for you?
  2. Investing

    Breaking Down the First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank ETF (QABA)

    Get an analysis of the First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank ETF, the single best pure-play ETF for investors seeking exposure to small-cap bank stocks.
  3. Financial Advisor

    The Alphabet Soup of Financial Certifications

    We decode the meaning of the many letters that can follow the names of financial professionals.
  4. Personal Finance

    An Introduction To The CFA Designation

    The CFA designation is seen as the key certification for investment professionals. Find out what the CFA signifies for candidates and investors.
  5. Financial Advisor

    The Top 3 Financial Advisor Credentials

    An overview of the top three credentials for financial advisors and what they require.
  6. Financial Advisor

    Advisors: Which Certifications Are Essential?

    The right advisor credentials can make all the difference, but wading through some 100 certifications can be a challenge. Here's some help.
  7. Financial Advisor

    Designations For The Buy Side

    For those interested in picking securities and financial planning, these certifications could be just what your buy-side financial career needs.
  8. Investing

    A Look Into Creating a Trust Fund With ETFs (VCIT, SDIV)

    Learn the basics of how a trust works and the two most common types. Discover how to use ETFs to fund a trust and the different strategies.
  9. Managing Wealth

    Financial Designations That Lead To The Highest-Paying Jobs

    Not only do these finance careers pay high salaries, they're also in high demand.
  10. Financial Advisor

    Passing an IRA to a Trust: The Good and Bad

    Creating a trust is a common estate planning tactic, but naming a beneficiary to an IRA to a trust may have unintended consequences.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the requirements that a trust needs to meet to be qualified?

    The requirements that a trust must meet to be qualified are as follows: The trust must be a valid trust under state law or ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center