Many of us have long held that designations like the CFP, ChFC and CFA matter. The training for such credentials is robust and applicable, the exams are rigorous and the ethical codes are well-developed and put clients first.

Some certifying agencies even spend a lot of money on advertising to tout these claims. But are the claims valid? Should consumers expect a more ethical, expert result from those who have studied and committed to strenuous ethical codes? Should a client expect the same difference in advisory quality, say, as between an M.D. and a drug store clerk?

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