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Types of Financial Advisors

Financial Planner

A financial planner is someone who uses the financial planning process to provide a client with integrated strategies to achieve financial and life goals. The planner can take a holistic view of your financial situation by reviewing your budgeting and saving, tax, investment, insurance and retirement needs or work with you on a single financial issue but within the context of your overall situation.

This holistic approach may set the planner apart from other financial advisers, who may have been trained to focus on a particular area of your financial life. Many financial planners hold insurance or securities licenses that allow them to buy or sell products; others refer you to specialized financial advisers to implement recommendations. Ethical financial planners will refer you to other professionals for services that they cannot provide and disclose any referral fees they may receive in the process.


Accountants provide you with advice on tax matters. In some cases, accountants must be licensed by the appropriate government regulatory agency.

Estate Planner

Estate planners provide you with advice on estate planning issues and put together a strategy to manage your assets at the time of your death. While attorneys, accountants, personal financial planners, insurance agents or trust bankers may all provide estate planning services, you should seek an attorney to prepare legal documents such as wills, trusts and powers of attorney.

Insurance Agent

Insurance agents are typically licensed by a regulatory body to sell life, health, property and funeral or other insurance products. Personal financial planners may identify and advise you on your insurance needs, but can only sell you insurance products if they are properly licensed.


Stockbrokers are licensed by securities regulators to buy and sell securities products such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds. They generally earn commissions on all of their transactions.

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About CFP® Marks

FPSB owns the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and certification and service marks (the CFP® Marks) outside the United States. Locally in South Africa, The Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) is the leading independent professional body for financial planners in South Africa. As a non-profit professional body and founding member of the international Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB), they exist to improve the level of professionalism and positively influence the quality of advice delivered by their members. Through a global partnership with FPSB, along with other over 20 other countries, FPI are the only institution in Southern Africa able to offer the CFP® certification. The CFP® mark asserts that the financial planning professional has met stringent qualification and competency requirements and adheres to an uncompromising code of ethics and professional standards.

This assures you, as their client, comprehensive and robust personal financial planning services and greater certainty around your financial future. FPSB guides the development of international CFP® certification standards, and the professional delivery of financial planning, to benefit and protect consumers. Individuals who have met FPSB’s rigorous initial certification standards, and who meet ongoing renewal requirements, are authorized to use the following three marks in the country or region in which they are certified:

CFP Certification

A person’s use of the CFP® Marks identifies that he or she has met rigorous ethics, competency and professional practice standards to deliver financial planning services in a country or region, as established by FPSB and locally adapted and administered by the FPSB Member in that territory. By using the CFP® Marks, a person is holding out his or her financial planning services to the public as meeting CFP® certification standards.

To benefit the public, FPSB ensures that the CFP® Marks are protected and used properly in each territory where they are registered, and that any person using the CFP® Marks in a particular country or region has met appropriate certification requirements.

Proper use of the CFP® Marks by all FPSB stakeholders is critical. Unlike licenses to practice or educational credentials, the CFP® certification and service marks are trademarks and, as such, must be used in compliance with trademark law in each territory in which they are registered.

If trademarks are used improperly, they can eventually lose their trademark status. If this were to happen to the CFP® Marks, CFP® professionals would lose the value and differentiation of the certification and consumers would be unable to rely on the CFP® certification as a mark of quality for professional financial planning. To prevent this from happening, FPSB requires all stakeholders to follow proper use guidelines and each FPSB Member to mandate proper use of the CFP® Marks by CFP® professionals through a Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.