The ChFC designation is getting a makeover.

The American College of Financial Services says it is re-launching the Chartered Financial Consultant credential to "reflect today's needs" for financial planning.

The program will still consist of nine classes -- including a required capstone course and six other core financial planning courses -- but two electives have been replaced by a pair of new required classes on advanced financial planning topics.

The two new courses are intended to cover the following issues more thoroughly:

  • Divorce
  • Blended families
  • Providing for special needs children and family members
  • Issues impacting the LGBT community
  • Retirement income planning
  • Behavioral finance


The American College has also restructured the capstone as well. Formerly an exam-based course focusing on theories and case studies, the course will now require students to develop and write a financial plan.

"We realized today's ChFC professional is very hands on, applied professional," says Craig Lemoine, director of the Chartered Financial Consultant program at the American College. "We weren't necessarily including everything that needs to be in the curriculum."

The new advanced planning classes, he says, are designed to better prepare ChFC candidates than the electives did.

The other six core financial planning classes will remain the same.

There are currently over 42,500 licensed ChFC professionals. Unlike CFPs, not all ChFC professionals are required to be fiduciaries.

While advisors currently holding the designation will not be required to undertake additional coursework, Lemoine points out that all ChFCs are still required to do 30 hours of continuing education every two years -- and that the new classes will meet the continuing education requirement.

"We'd love if they came back and took [them]," says Lemoine.

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