Certifications and Designations

The Landmark team holds multiple industry designations. We are committed to maintaining the highest level of industry knowledge. This enables us to provide superior investment and financial planning solutions.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

CPAs are licensed and regulated by their state boards of accountancy. Experience and testing requirements for licensure as a CPA® generally include minimum college education, minimum experience levels, and successful passage of the Uniform CPA® Examination. In order to maintain a CPA® license, states generally require the completion of continuing professional education. Additionally, all American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA®) members are required to follow a rigorous Code of Professional Conduct which requires that they act with integrity, objectivity, due care, competence, fully disclose any conflicts of interest (and obtain client consent if a conflict exists), maintain client confidentiality, disclose to the client any commission or referral fees, and serve the public interest when providing financial services.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

The Certified Financial Planner™, CFP® and federally registered CFP® marks are professional certification marks granted in the United States by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP® Board”).

The CFP® certification is a voluntary certification; no federal or state law or regulation requires financial planners to hold the CFP® certification. It is recognized in the United States and a number of other countries for its high standard of professional education, stringent code of conduct and standards of practice and ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients.

To attain the right to use the CFP® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements: Complete an advanced college-level course of study addressing the financial planning subject areas that CFP® Board’s studies have determined as necessary for the competent and professional delivery of financial planning services, and attain a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university (or its equivalent from a foreign university), pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Examination, complete at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience and agree to be bound by CFP® Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct.

Individuals who become certified must complete 30 hours of continuing education hours every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and other parts of the Standards of Professional Conduct, to maintain competence and keep up with developments in the financial industry. They must also renew an agreement to be bound by the Standards of Professional Conduct every two years. The Standards prominently require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services with a fiduciary standard of care. This means CFP® professionals must provide financial planning services in the best interests of their clients.

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) charter is a globally respected, graduate-level investment credential established in 1962 and awarded by CFA Institute — the largest global association of investment professionals. The achievement of this designation is one of the highest distinctions in the investment management progression.

To earn the CFA charter, candidates must: 1) pass three sequential, six-hour examinations; 2) have at least four years of qualified professional investment experience; 3) join CFA Institute as members; and 4) commit to abide by, and annually reaffirm, their adherence to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. The CFA Program curriculum is updated every year by experts from around the world to ensure that candidates learn the most relevant and practical new tools, ideas, and investment and wealth management skills to reflect the dynamic and complex nature of the profession.

Certified Investment Management Analyst (Wharton)

The Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) certification signifies that an individual has met initial and on-going experience, ethical, education, and examination requirements for investment management consulting. Prerequisites for the CIMA® certification are three years of financial services experience and an acceptable regulatory history. To obtain the CIMA® certification, candidates must pass an online Qualification Examination, successfully complete a one-week classroom education program provided by a Registered Education Provider, pass an online Certification Examination, and have an acceptable regulatory history. CIMA® designees are required to adhere to IMCA’s Code of Professional Responsibility, Standards of Practice, and Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks.

CIMA® designees must report 40 hours of continuing education credits, including two ethics hours, every two years to maintain the certification. The designation is administered through the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA).

Certified Private Wealth Advisor (Booth)

The Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) designation signifies that an individual has met initial and on-going experience, ethical, education, and examination requirements for the professional designation, which is centered on private wealth management topics and strategies for high net-worth clients.

Prerequisites for the CPWA designation are a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or one of the following designations or licenses: CIMA®, CIMC®, CFA®, CFP®, ChFC®, or CPA® license; have an acceptable regulatory history as evidenced by the FINRA Form U-4 or other regulatory requirements and five years of professional client-centered experience in financial services or a related industry. CPWA designees have completed a rigorous educational process that includes self-study requirements, an in-class education component, and successful completion of a comprehensive examination. CPWA designees are required to adhere to IMCA’s Code of Professional Responsibility and Rules and Guidelines for Use of the Marks. CPWA designees must report 40 hours of continuing education credits, including two ethics hours, every two years to maintain the certification. The designation is administered through the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA), in conjunction with The Booth School, the University of Chicago.

Certified Investment Strategist (Wharton)

One-time, intensive program offered by IMCA in conjunction with The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Those individuals who complete the program receive a certification with a focus on investment strategies, including asset allocation, investment policy, risk metrics, performance evaluation, and alternative investments.

Certified Personal Financial Specialist

The American Institute of CPAs® (AICPA®) Personal Financial Specialist (PFS®) Credential is granted exclusively to CPAs who have the powerful combination of extensive tax expertise and comprehensive knowledge of financial planning. This knowledge is critical for obtaining the most valuable, objective advice possible. All areas of personal financial planning – including estate, retirement, investments, and insurance – have tax implications, and PFS® professionals develop the experience and expertise necessary to advise in these areas.

Candidates of the PFS® program must be a member of the AICPA®, have an unrevoked CPA® certificate issued by a state authority, and have at least two years of full-time teaching or business experience (3,000 hour equivalency) in personal financial planning within the five-year period preceding the date of their application. Candidates must also have a minimum of 75 hours of personal financial planning education within the five-year period preceding the date of the application and must complete a final examination. This examination can consist of the Personal Financial Specialist exam, or the Certified Financial Planner exam or Chartered Financial Consultant exam. Upon obtaining this certification, Personal Financial Specialist must complete 60 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain their high degree of financial planning excellence.

Certified Trust and Estate Specialist

Represents a designation in advanced knowledge of fiduciaries, estate planning, retirement accounts, mental competence, living and specialized trusts, wills, gifts, transfers, and insurance. The CES™ designation focuses on estate planning goals, beneficiaries, wills and probate, retirement accounts, taxes and trusts, living trusts, wills, and post-mortem guidelines. All candidates must complete a comprehensive advanced program designed to educate the advisor on every aspect of estate planning, post-mortem planning, and taxation. CES™ is a professional financial services designation granted by the Institute of Business & Finance (IBF).

Certified Fund Specialist

The Certified Fund Specialist® (CFS®) is the oldest designation in the mutual fund industry. With mutual funds training, a Certified Fund Specialist® is able to evaluate and compare financial measurements and benchmarks when constructing a portfolio. Modern portfolio theory (MPT) is a key part of the program; its components are broken down and detailed in terms the advisor can easily understand and convey to a client. Armed with MPT and other selection criteria learned as part of the mutual fund education, a suitable and efficient portfolio using closed-end, exchange-traded, and open-end funds can be derived.

Practitioners and academics continually update the CFS® materials. Students obtain the best of both worlds—the practical as well as the theoretical. Closed-end funds, ETFs, REITs and UITs are also covered, thereby providing the student with a more rounded education. With this additional investment knowledge, advisors and brokers offer ideas to clients that they would not receive elsewhere.

Accredited Investment Fiduciary

The AIF® Designation certifies that the recipient has specialized knowledge of fiduciary standards of care and their application to the investment management process. To receive the AIF® Designation, the individual must meet prerequisite criteria based on a combination of education, relevant industry experience, and/or ongoing professional development, complete a training program, successfully pass a comprehensive, closed-book final examination under the supervision of a proctor and agree to abide by the Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards. In order to maintain the AIF® Designation, the individual must annually attest to the Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards and accrue and report a minimum of six hours of continuing education. The Designation is administered by the Center for Fiduciary Studies, the standards-setting body of fi360.

Certified Tax Specialist

The CTS™ designation is the first of its kind in the industry and has proven effective in helping reducing clients’ tax obligations. A CTS™ can offer expert guidance on: who must file an income tax return; the impact of current tax regulations on individuals, couples, families, and business owners; business income and home businesses; tax credits, itemized deductions, and retirement plans; and LLCs and S corporations.

Certified Income Specialist

A CERTIFIED INCOME SPECIALIST™ professional or a CIS® practitioner is a financial professional who meets the requirements established by the Institute of Business and Finance, Inc. While others may call themselves income planners, only those who demonstrate the requisite experience, education, and ethical standards are awarded the CIS® mark.  A CIS® professional is trained to develop and implement comprehensive financial strategies for individuals, businesses, and organizations. They have the knowledge and skills to objectively assess your current financial status, identify potential problem areas, and recommend appropriate options.

Masters in Business Administration (MBA)

A master of business administration (MBA) is a graduate degree that provides theoretical and practical training for business or investment management. An MBA is designed to help graduates gain a better understanding of general business management functions.

Applied Behavioral Finance Certificate Program (Booth)

The Applied Behavioral Finance certification program through the Investments & Wealth Institute, in conjunction with The Booth School, the University of Chicago, gives advisors the tools to understand and properly navigate their clients’ roller coaster of emotions and unspoken biases toward investing, as well as their own.

Alternative Investment Certificate (Wharton)

This certificate program includes self-study and a week-long intensive program offered through the Investment Management Council Association in conjunction with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. The program is designed for investment consultants and wealth managers dedicated to acquiring the advanced knowledge in alternative investments used to help manage client portfolios more effectively in today’s uncertain, new global economy.