All Advice-Only financial advisors who pass my screening must have a CFP®, equivalent credential, or qualifying experience. The vast majority have the CFP® credential itself. Only very few don’t have it but I let them pass based on their experience.
CFP® certification is based on Four E’s: education, examination, experience, and ethics. Candidates must complete an approved set of courses, pass an exam that takes 6 hours, have 3 years of experience in financial planning, and agree to the code of ethics. After they are certified, they must take 30 hours of continued education every year to maintain the certification.
I think Advice-Only financial advisors as a group are more experienced in giving advice, because giving advice is their raison d’être. They are typically solo practitioners as the principal of their own firms. Some have co-owners or employees. They don’t have a big brand name behind them but it doesn’t make them any less qualified.
Just to give you a feel of the Advisor-Only financial advisors I screened, I used a random number generator from random.org to pick out 3 random advisors from more than 50 who passed my screening so far. I give their profiles here without their names. Remember these are randomly picked, not cherry-picked the most experienced or the most qualified.
Female, age 62. Master of Science degree. CFP® certified. She has been a financial advisor for 10 years, including the most recent 3 years as the principal of her own firm. Her firm provided financial planning services to 11 – 25 clients last year.
Female, age 60. Master of Science degree. CFP® certified for 10 years. CPA for over 20 years. She has been a financial advisor for 13 years, including the most recent 9 years as the principal of her own firm. Her firm provided financial planning services to 26 – 50 clients last year.
Male, age 56. JD degree. CFP® certified for 14 years. He has been a financial advisor as the principal of his own firm for 17 years. His firm provided financial planning services to 51 – 100 clients last year.
If one of my family members is looking for an advisor, I would be comfortable with having any one of these three random Advice-Only financial advisors as their candidate.