Top 8 Titles Used by Financial Advisors – Is Your Financial Advisor Registered?


financial advisors

This post is a continuation of the last post, Who is your Financial Advisor? In this post I will discuss some of the more common titles and licenses used in the finance-related profession. These are titles which professionals use to promote themselves. Some of these titles are given to them by their broker dealer, some are titles provided to them by obtaining a license and passing a test for proficiency, and some are self-designated.

Financial Advisors, their titles, and licenses

This is not an exhaustive list. There are many title professionals choose to call themselves. This post is only meant to discuss the more popular ones to help you navigate through all the terminology. Here is a list of the most common used titles for the finance-related profession:

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Who is Your Financial Advisor?


financial advisor

Professional titles are a great way to distinguish professionals from one another. You wouldn’t confuse Dr. John Smith with John Smith D.M.D., or Col. John Smith with Lt. John Smith. The financial advisory profession is much the same way. However it is a little more cryptic to the investing public as to what the different titles mean in the financial advisory profession due to their lack of uniformity. I hope to dispel some of this confusion right here.

Job “Title” vs Designation

Financial advisors use titles and designations to communicate to their clients and prospective clients who they are and what they do. While titles are a way to communicate to people what their role is, a designation is a way to show people that they have received additional education in certain areas. Unfortunately there is very little regulation or oversight in using different titles or designations from the industry regulators.  This has actually been one of the main causes for the lack of clarity among the investing public along with the rampant creation of designations for different specializations. The Wall Street Journal recently listed 208 designations for financial service professionals on their website.1

This list of 208 does not include designations which are internally given by companies to their brokers or advisors for passing an advanced education exam. For example, I received a Financial Planning Specialist (FPS) designation when I worked at Smith Barney. However, when I left the firm, I could no longer use the designation even though I passed the test. If you see the list, you will realize the runaway problem the financial services industry faces in further confusing the public. Some of these designations are monitored by FINRA and some are not.

How popular is your financial advisor?

As a professional financial advisor with over 15 years of experience, I have spent a lot of time over those years trying to craft the appropriate title to describe my profession, while at the same time trying to distinguish myself. One type of competition I have is with other people who have services which closely mirror my own. The other type of competition is from people who are from a different profession, but use the title of financial advisor. People from other professions who also use this title include: insurance salespeople, mortgage brokers, tax preparers, and more. This leads to a consumer who ends up being confused, and potentially does not get the help they are looking for.

Popular financial advisor designations

As an example of some of this research, I have illustrated the investing public’s levels of interest in the following four designations…

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The Inflation and Deflation Balancing Act

inflation and deflation

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – F Scott Fitzgerald

The US has become a two choice society. We are consistently bombarded with the idea that our choices are binary. You have to vote republican or democrat, pro-life or pro-choice, for this idea or against it. Why is it that our choices in life are being limited to only two choices? Neither of which is chosen by us. Two positions in a debate are chosen and we have to choose from which one we like the best, or more commonly which one we dislike the least.

If you watch most news stations, they bring up two people to discuss an issue and usually both are extreme views, and you are supposed to pick a side. When did we become a binary choice society? During the next presidential election, we will have to choose between two people. I cannot remember the last time that I spoke to anyone who “liked” either choice. The conversation always ends up with the phrase, “yes I know he isn’t great… but he is certainly better than the other guy.” I’m willing to bet that the majority of people in the US (whether they know it or not) vote for the lesser of two evils. This means they are not voting for a candidate, they are voting against the other candidate. Really??? Our voting choices really come down to a dilemma? Our choices for the future of this country are based on who we can tolerate the most? It astounds me that more people don’t realize that they do this. But I digress,

The Inflation and Deflation Balance

The balance between inflation and deflation is much the same idea as many of our choices between two opposing ideas. It is a false dilemma. It is not a binary choice. Technically if you subscribe to the theory that inflation or deflation are measured by the CPI, then actually inflation and deflation would be measured by degrees rather than a binary choice. However, this assumes that the CPI method of measurement is an accurate measurement. What if inflation and deflation are not your only choices?

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Inflation Monitor November 2014

inflation monitor

Inflation Monitor November 2014 – Introduction

This is the second issue of the Innovative Advisory Group Inflation Monitor. We have received a lot of positive feedback on our first issue of that Inflation Monitor. As you will notice, we have taken some of this feedback and made some minor adjustments to our issue this month. As always, please contact me to send your feedback on how I can make this monthly Inflation monitor a better tool or resource for you.

This month I have added the following indicators:

  • The Rogers International Commodity Index®,
  • US 10 year TIPS,
  • Personal Expenditure Consumption Index,
  • Real median income to the list for reference.
  • US Debt as a percentage of GDP

In this month’s issue I will be discussing Japan, Deflation, US Oil production, Gold and Silver. Given the most recent US market sell off, I think it would be a good time to discuss the other side of inflation… Deflation.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this month’s issue – Inflation Monitor November 2014.

Kirk Chisholm

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Inflation Monitor October 2014

inflation monitor

Inflation Monitor October 2014 – Introduction

This is the first issue of the Innovative Advisory Group Inflation Monitor. We created this Inflation Monitor as a part of the research we do internally at Innovative Advisory Group. While we have always done this research, we felt that with the new upgraded website, we would add a few new features. Our plan is to publish one of these each month with the monthly updated inflation data. Each issue will be accompanied with a brief summary of ideas, concept having to do with inflation, and a few notable charts, have I have found interesting either in the past month or in general. Everything will be related to inflation, or rather what I call “flation”. Maybe if I need to spice things up a bit, I’ll add a bit of humor. Please contact me to send your feedback on how I can make this monthly Inflation monitor a better tool or resource for you.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy.

Kirk Chisholm

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Timeless Wall Street Wisdom

By: Kirk Chisholm

Wall Street Wisdom

Timeless Wall Street Wisdom

Wall Street is steeped with wisdom by learning from another’s folly. While no one wants to be held out as an example of what not to do, it is inevitable that someone makes the mistake. Human psychology is interesting in that what should be a valuable lesson to the rest of us, is squandered away by attempting to do the same thing over and over again. Fortunately many investors have come to the table before you and me and have left a valuable trail of lessons to learn from.

I am writing a category of blog posts with valuable Timeless Wall Street Wisdom. Anyone who cares to read it will be able to learn something new. These are lessons which I have learned over the years either through my own folly or by observing others… mostly through observing others. There is one certainty on Wall Street: if you think you are the first to make this mistake, you are not. There are no new investing paradigms, there are no new ideas, and when you hear the words, “but this time its different”… you should know that it never is. I hope you enjoy my Wall Street Wisdom…

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