Fee-Only investment advisers can be compensated in only one way; the transparent and contractually agreed upon fees that they charge their clients. Fee-Only investment advisers do not sell products with non-transparent commissions. Fee-Only investment advisers do not sell life insurance. Fee-Only investment advisers are in the extreme minority. According to a FINRA study, 88% of investment adviser representatives are also registered as stockbrokers; stockbrokers can sell products with non-transparent commissions. Because the vast majority of financial advisors are dual-registered as both investment advisers and stockbrokers, most consumers are working with an FA who has conflicts of interest present in their compensation model. Eliminate the confusion; work with a Fee-Only adviser who offers complete transparency.
CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst. A charter is a professional credential bestowed by the CFA Institute on financial and investment professionals who have completed its program of study, passed all three levels of its examinations, and met other professional requirements. The CFA program is a graduate level of study. Candidates for the program commit an average of 900+ cumulative hours of study time to complete all three levels.
A CPA is different than an accountant. In fact, anyone who does any type of accounting function – even someone without a degree – can call themselves an accountant.
A certified public accountant (CPA), however, is someone who has earned a professional designation through a combination of education, experience and licensing.
In addition to completing a program of study in accounting, and acquiring professional work experience in public accounting, a CPA candidate also must sit for and pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
The exam itself is developed and graded by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Licensing, however, is done by state, district and county Boards of Accountancy.