A CFP®, or Certified Financial Planner™, is typically considered the gold standard for proof of expertise in personal financial advising. To become a CFP®, a financial advisor must complete what is usually a three-year program, passing examinations in five separate units as well as a comprehensive final exam that is completed over two days. A minimum of three years of industry experience is also required to attain CFP® certification. All Proctor Financial advisors are CFP®s.
An Investment Advisor is someone who has registered with a government organization to provide investment advice. An advisor must manage a minimum of $25 million in investable assets in order to register with the SEC. Advisors with fewer assets must register with state authorities.
A stockbroker is someone who has passed a Series 7 examination and earns his or her salary from commissions on sales of certain stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other investments.
In Massachusetts, any advisor can call himself or herself a financial planner, without any specific qualification.