To Sit or Not to Sit

Craig Lemoine, Eric Schaefer

Research output: Working paper


The Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification granted by the CFP Board of Standards has become a strong signal in the financial services industry. Consumer awareness of the designation continues to increase; 34% of sampled consumers recognizing the mark and 85% of mass affluent consumers have familiarity with CFP®. CFP Board found that 52% of consumers have a preference to work with a CFP® professional. Increased consumer awareness and preference continues to strengthen the value of a CFP® signal. The CFP Board of Standards has targeted growth goals for new CFP® professionals entering the financial service industry. This is primarily accomplished through students completing registered certificate and baccalaureate programs. To accomplish these goals and track registered program performance, The CFP Board provides baccalaureate program Certification Completion Initiative (CCI) reporting to registered programs. The CCI report provides a snapshot of national averages and student affiliation performance in two categories; Graduates establishing CFP Board accounts and Graduates sitting for the exam. The CFP Board sets growth targets for increasing the percentage of students establishing CFP Board accounts and increasing the percentage of student who sit for the CFP Exam. In a Spring 2016 registered program update, the CFP Board set a target increase of 11.5% in students sitting for the CFP exam matriculating rom registered baccalaureate programs. Students graduating from CFP Board registered baccalaureate programs do not always register for and take the CFP exam. A 2014 study with a limited sample size (N=16) found that just over 55% of graduates had either become CFP professionals or were in the process of that journey. Conversely, the remaining 45% were not pursing the designation at all. This paper begins to investigate why graduates may choose non-CFP paths after parting ways with their Alma mater. Discoveries on this topic will undoubtedly help registered programs better reach testing goals while also preparing graduates for careers in financial planning.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Sep 23 2017


  • CFP
  • Test
  • Exam
  • Certified Financial Planner


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