CFP®… NAPFA… FPA… What does it all mean?

Photo by: Shea Hazarian

Have you ever wondered what it means to be able to call oneself a CFP®? Or, what does it mean to be a member of NAPFA or FPA?

At Financial Symmetry, we understand that it can become easy to get lost in the long list of acronyms that financial planners use. Some planners use letters after his or her name, while other mention specific membership affiliations.

Let’s take a look at the credentials and membership affiliations of Financial Symmetry’s primary advisors.


CFP®, short for Certified Financial Planner, is the highest standard in the industry for financial planning credentials. CFP® certification requires meeting rigorous professional standards including:
  • completion of a CFP® Board Certified education program
  • passing a comprehensive examination
  • fulfilling three years of full-time industry relevant work experience
  • complying with the CFP® Board Code of Ethics
  • ongoing, yearly continuing education.

All of our primary advisors have earned the CFP® Certification. Those advisors include:


NAPFA, short for National Association of Professional Financial Advisors, is a membership organization, that grants membership only to Fee-Only financial advisors who are paid directly by their clients.

NAPFA members receive no commissions or other rewards for selling financial products.  Those forms of compensation create potential conflicts of interest that may serve to undermine an advisor’s objectivity and fiduciary responsibility.

NAPFA members also sign a Fiduciary Oath to “place the clients’ interests first.”  In addition to tough standards on client-friendly compensation, NAPFA has some of the industry’s most rigorous education and training requirements for membership. All candidates for membership are required to submit a complete comprehensive financial plan for a full-scale peer review. Furthermore, NAPFA’s continuing education requirements exceed those of any other association of financial advisors.

Financial Symmetry’s primary advisors, Chad Smith, CFP® and Allison Berger, CFP® are both NAPFA members.


Another membership organization is FPA, short for The Financial Planning Association®.  FPA is a leadership and advocacy organization for those who provide, support and benefit from financial planning. From its earliest designs, the Financial Planning Association (FPA) included a mandate that members adhere to a Code of Ethicsthat reflects their commitment to help clients achieve their life goals. All FPA members are asked to commit to this Code, CFP® certificants and non-CFP® certificants alike. FPA’s Ethics Committee is charged by the Board of Directors with reviewing alleged violations to the Code of Ethics and advising staff on ways to enhance awareness by FPA members of their obligations under the Code.

  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Competence
  • Fairness
  • Confidentiality
  • Professionalism
  • Diligence

All of our primary advisors are members of the FPA.  Those advisors include:

Will Holt, CPA, CFP®, is also a Certified Public Accountant. If you are interested in learning about the CPA designation, please click here.

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