Friday, December 01, 2006

American College Offers Fast-Track CFP Study

On November 27, 2006, the American College, of Bryn Mawr, PA, launched "an expedited learning program designed to prepare financial advisors for the Certified Financial Planner certification examination in roughly seven months."

The American College is a great educational resource located in eastern Pennsylvania. The history of the institution is summarized

Founded in 1927 as The American College of Life Underwriters, the College has in recent decades broadened its instructional offerings to reflect the growing convergence of insurance and other financial services professions. A variety of designation, certificate, graduate-degree, and continuing education programs now complement its long-respected CLU designation.
Its mission in education is declared as follows:
The mission of The American College is to raise the level of professionalism of its students and, by extension, the financial services industry as a whole. By imparting expert knowledge — and by emphasizing that such knowledge must be regularly renewed and ethically applied — the College seeks to strengthen not only its students’ professionalism, but also the financial security of individuals, families, businesses, and the society they serve.
To this end (states its website), over 150,000 financial services professionals have earned various advanced degrees & designations, which are listed on its website:
  • LUTC Fellow
  • Financial Services Specialist - FSS
  • CFP® Certification Curriculum
  • Chartered Financial Consultant - ChFC®
  • Chartered Life Underwriter - CLU®
  • Chartered Advisor for Senior Living - CASL™
  • Registered Health Underwriter - RHU®
  • Registered Employee Benefits Consultant - REBC®
  • Chartered Leadership Fellow - CLF®
  • Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® - CAP
  • Master of Science in Financial Services
  • Master of Science in Management
Among these designations, the American College is best known for training individuals for designations as a "Chartered Financial Consultant" (ChFC) and a "Chartered Life Underwriter" (CLU). The American College has trained, since 1927, over 90,000 CLUs; and has also trained, since 1982, over 37,000 ChFCs. Brochures are made available on the American College's "ChFC-CLU" website about the CLU designation and the ChFC designation. On that website, the American College provides answers to questions about such designated insurance or financial advisors:
The American College also has maintained an educational program directed towards the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation too. Now, based upon the report in a WebCPA article, found online here, the new course offerings by the American College appear to expand its educational opportunities that train individuals to sit for testing as a CFP:
Developed in conjunction with the JR Financial Group, a financial services trainer, the program, titled Financial Planning Express, combines self-study with a series of live, four-day classroom sessions held every six weeks. The six modules that comprise the Express program conclude three weeks prior to the CFP certification examination with a live, five-day comprehensive review of all 89 CFP topics covered on the test.

Individuals interested in participating in the Financial Express program are encouraged to enroll as quickly as possible, due to the fact that enrollment allows program participants to avail themselves of the initial self-study period for the first of the program's six modules. The culmination of the first module is a live review session on the college's Bryn Mawr campus on Dec. 7-10. * * *

Earlier this year, the college launched a pilot version of the program and reported that 75 percent of the participants passed the CFP exam.
It is the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. that certifies CFPs. It explains the CFP designation here:

The CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and certification marks are financial planning credentials awarded by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) to individuals who meet education, examination, experience and ethics requirements.
Point to consumers: Check the designations & certifications of your financial advisors, because all are not equal; and advisors with no such credentials should be questioned.

Additional information about American College's "Financial Planning Express" program is available here.

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Update: 05/23/07:

A press release, posted on May 22, 2007, by Insurance NewsNet, entitled "The American College’s Alumni Association Grows To 18,000 Members In Only One Year", provides an update about the Alumni Association of The American College, of Bryn Mawr, PA:
In just one year, The American College Alumni Association has grown to include 18,000 registered members. This remarkable growth is attributed to the strong affinity and enthusiasm graduates of The American College feel for this remarkable institution of higher learning – dedicated to serving the educational needs of our nation’s financial services professionals.

Each member of the Alumni Association proudly holds an American College designation or degree. These educational credentials serve as an emblem of quality for consumers seeking the advice of qualified and knowledgeable financial practitioners committed to a code of ethics. * * *

The American College is dedicated to leadership in innovative training and development that helps financial services companies and their employees succeed.

As a non-profit educational institution holding the highest level of academic accreditation, The College has served as a valued business partner to banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies and others for 80 years.