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New Site Helps Consumers Understand Financial Credentials and Find Qualified Advisors.

BRYN MAWR, Pa., April 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Long confused by the "alphabet soup" of designations after the names of financial advisors, consumers now have a reliable resource to help them determine which credentials are rigorous and offered by leading institutions, versus "one day seminars" that often mislead the public.

Earlier today, The American College launched DesignationCheck.com, a website providing consumers with extended descriptions of the most common designations, tips on how to select a financial advisor, and search tools to help them find advisors with credentials well regarded by regulators.

DesignationCheck.com includes full descriptions of many designations offered by several universities and institutions. The site also offers insight on educational and experience requirements, codes of ethics, examinations, continuing education requirements, enforcement, accreditation, and information about the conferring organization. Non-profit organizations that would like to have their credential listed may submit their request through the "Feedback" section on DesignationCheck.com.

Larry Barton, Ph.D., President and CEO of The American College stated: "At any time, but especially now in an erratic economy, there is an inherent lack of trust in insurance and financial planners. While no credential such as a CPA or CLU guarantees superb advice, we know for a fact that those with these designations are more likely to ensure sound and unbiased planning and that they have completed a course of study that took years and numerous exams to complete.

"Unfortunately, there are over 300 financial designations available, and some can be completed in just one day of study. We must encourage Congress to stop this insanity of unlicensed and unchecked, for-profit companies issuing certificates with initials that confuse consumers."

"Advisors with advanced education such as ChFCs, and CFP certificants are the kinds of professionals consumers should seek out," Barton adds. "This robust website includes a wide variety of industry credentials and will help consumers connect directly with knowledgeable and qualified financial advisors," he notes.

DesignationCheck.com also contains links to other resources, including those available from FINRA and the AICPA. The "10 Considerations for Choosing an Advisor" feature covers the questions consumers should be asking when they select an advisor, and the search feature helps consumers find a credentialed financial professional near them.

The advisor search tool focuses on the "big three" financial planning marks: CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter), CFP Certification (through a link to CFP Board's site), and ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant ). Another link on the site helps consumers locate a CPA with the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential.

"While FINRA and a few other sites provide lists of popular designations, there is no other site that provides as much detailed information for consumers about what each credential represents," said Barton. "We believe it is critical for families to have this tool available free of charge so they are able to choose their advisors carefully and with full information about their qualifications."

The American College is the nation's largest non-profit educational institution devoted to financial services. Holding the highest level of academic accreditation, The College has served as a valued business partner to banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies and others for over 84 years. The American College's faculty represents some of the financial services industry's foremost thought leaders. For more information, visit TheAmericanCollege.edu.

SOURCE The American College
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Date:Apr 26, 2011
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