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Spanning from C3DWP to WMS, there are 212 professional designations listed on FINRA’s website. We previously discussed a few of the most commonly acquired financial advisor designations and the requirements needed to obtain them. While those designations, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA), are popular in the financial services community, there are many other not as well-known designations available too.

With so many options, we’re now exploring some more financial advisor designations that you may not have known about. For example, what does it mean to be a Certified Student Loan Professional or a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy? We dove into the details of some niche financial advisor designations – here’s what we found:

Financial advisor cheers after earning a financial advisor designation in a specialized field.

Certified 401(k) Professional [C(k)P]

Offered by The Retirement Advisor University, the C(k)P identifies advisors who have experience and knowledge in developing corporate retirement plans, also known as 401(k)s. C(k)Ps have committed to a code of conduct and ethics. They have completed education requirements that cover technical competence, optimizing plan outcomes, management and business, as well as sales and marketing.

In order to be eligible to become a C(k)P, an advisor must be managing at least ten plans, have at least $30 million of assets under management, and have three years of experience in the industry.

Certified Estate and Trust Specialist (CES)

According to the Institute of Business & Finance, the CES designation expands an advisor’s knowledge on estate planning and asset repositioning to assist beneficiaries and provide advice on wills and probates, retirement accounts, and more. Advisors can learn strategies for managing estates and trusts, such as tax planning, managing beneficiaries, and identifying the rights of spouses.

According to FINRA, to obtain this designation an individual must have a Bachelor’s degree or 2,000 hours of financial services work experience, complete a self-study program, and pass three qualifying exams.

Certified Student Loan Professional (CSLP)

Advisors interested in focusing on creating comprehensive plans for obtaining and repaying student loans may be interested in becoming a CSLP. The CSLP course, offered through the CSLA institute, teaches financial advisors how to understand a client’s loan program, create comprehensive plans, and help clients make adjustments according to their needs, incomes, and goals.

The program consists of four online courses on financial aid, repayment plans, tax and financial planning, and case study analysis. The program ends with a two-hour exam.

Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP)

In the process of becoming a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy, advisors learn the best strategies for philanthropic planning – specifically for charitable giving and guiding charitable organizations. These professionals can learn the best tax strategies for charitable giving, handle gift-planning, and advise families on legacy planning.

This is a designation offered by the American College. To obtain the title, candidates must have the relevant work experience, complete an online self-study program, and take a two-hour exam at the end of each course.

Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor (ADPA)

The Accredited Domestic Partnership Advisor title is offered and recognized by the College for Financial Planning. This program prepares financial professionals “to address the unique planning needs specific to unmarried, coupled persons.” It reviews the differences between planning for domestic partners and legally married couples.

This title is for advisors interested in learning more about benefits that may not be available for clients in domestic partnerships in order to better assist them. There are live online classes available as well as on-demand classes. The program ends with a final exam.

Certified Divorce Advisor (CDA)

According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Certified Divorce Advisors are educated in analyzing and strategizing for financial issues that may arise during a divorce. This includes tax considerations, understanding the short-term and long-term effects of dividing property, and determining the cost basis and capital gains on the sale of the marital home.

To obtain this certification, an advisor must have a minimum of 3 years’ experience in the financial services field, complete a self-study course, and be nominated by the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Financial Education.

Expanding Your Reach with a Specialized Certification

Whether you are starting a new practice or expanding your existing practice to a specific area of expertise, you may be interested in exploring one of the 212 financial advisor designation options. With the correct background and dedication to the coursework, you can earn a title that represents the values you uphold and where your experiences lie.

Planning for Multiple Generations

Another acronym that may be useful to you and your practice is DTC IRA TT. The Dunham Trust Company IRA Trust Trilogy® provides a trust solution that is completed easily and quickly with Dunham Trust Company. It allows you to continue managing your client’s assets, it is affordable, avoids planning fatigue, and provides your clients with a deeper level of beneficiary planning.

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Dunham: World-Class Trust and Investment Firm

At Dunham, we work with financial advisors to provide methods that may help your clients meet their investment goals. If you have any questions about how our team can help, get in touch with us today. You can call any of our regional directors or complete an online form on our contact page.

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