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PFS update: PFS designation and MEP system.

The AICPA PFP Executive Committee and the PFS Credential & Exam Committee, along with the National Accreditation Commission, developed and implemented new guidelines for the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation, effective Jan. 1, 2001. Candidates are using the new PFS Application/Assessment Tool, an online tool posted at This tool, the latest step in implementing the multiple entry points (MEP) system, has been successfully used by more than 100 new applicants. The tool, along with instructions on how to complete it, can be downloaded from the Website.

Under the MEP system, candidates for the PFS are evaluated on a point system, with a total of 100 points required to attain the PFS credential.

The system covers three areas:

* Business experience. This can include experience in some or all of six financial planning disciplines: personal financial planning (PFP) process, personal income tax planning, risk management planning, investment planning, retirement planning and estate planning. It also has been broadened to include the teaching of college-level PFP courses.

* Lifelong learning. This embraces both traditional (standard CPE courses) and nontraditional (self-directed reading and research) methods. Lifelong learning also includes conference presentations and professional writing credits. Advanced degrees, such as a J.D. or an MBA, are considered, as is participation on the committees of nationally recognized PFP associations.

* Examination. All candidates are required to pass an examination. In addition to the Comprehensive PFS Exam, several other certification exams, as well as the NASD Series 65, Series 66 and Series 7 exams, are also eligible for points toward accreditation. However, some of these additional exams will require the applicant to obtain a greater number of points in business experience and lifelong learning.

More information regarding the new point system is at, including a downloadable PFS Candidates Handbook.
Sarah Phelan, J.D.
Technical Manager
Jersey City, NJ
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Title Annotation:Personal Financial Specialist; multiple entry points; American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Author:Phelan, Sarah
Publication:The Tax Adviser
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2001
Previous Article:What every CPA needs to know about life insurance.
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