By Betty Meredith, CFA®, CFP®, CRC®
A few months ago we surveyed our 2,000+ active Certificants to find out how we can better meet your needs. Here’s what we learned from the 20% (431) of you who responded:
1. Roughly 1/3 of you serve public sector plans and 2/3 work for private sector firms.
2. 100% of you provide retirement counseling. 36% are financial advisors; brokerage or bank reps; 12% provide education to plan participants; 6% manage or administer retirement plans; and 5% are independent financial planners.
3. You are a highly experienced group! 40% have over 10 years experience in the retirement industry, and another 35% have over 20 years experience. 25% have less than 10 years experience. 9% hold the CFP® certification.
4. You believe that becoming a CRC® Certificant has helped you increase and solidify your overall retirement accumulation and income planning knowledge. Earning the certification has also helped you separate yourself from those who have not earned a credential that demonstrates retirement-specific expertise.
5. 71% believe earning the CRC® has increased your credibility among your peers, and 69% believe it increases your credibility with your clients/plan members.
We also learned what InFRE needs to work on to better serve you in the future:
1. Only 39% felt achieving independent accreditation of the CRC® was of moderate or more importance to our Certificant community. This means you’ll be hearing more from us in the months to come about why accreditation is the most effective way to protect and increase the long-term value of your certification in today’s regulatory and compliance-driven environment, as well as help protect the general public from individuals who lack the appropriate knowledge, experience and ethics to be true retirement professionals.
From the Institute of Credentialing Excellence website: “Accreditation provides third party oversight of a conformity assessment system. It provides a mechanism for organizations to demonstrate to the profession it represents and the general public it serves that its credentialing program has been reviewed by a panel of impartial experts that have determined that their program has met the stringent standards set by the credentialing community. Accreditation through ICE provides organizations and many ICE members with a way to answer the question, “who reviewed your certificate or certification program?”, a question often posed by members of an occupation, employers, and sometimes, the courts.”
2. InFRE needs to do more to increase the awareness of the certification within the industry and with the general public. I earned the CFP® certification in 1988, and it wasn’t until the late 1990s (over 25 years after the certification began) that consumers overall began to recognize what the initials stood for and the expertise it represented.
In addition to updating the exams and practice analysis to renew the accreditation of the CRC® (which is required every five years), we are working on version 2.0 of the retirement readiness assessment for use by consumers and public employees that InFRE created a few years ago for the federal government’s 3,000,000 employees. We believe this has the opportunity to substantially increase the visibility and need for the CRC® with the general public and members of public sector retirement plans versus other retirement-specific certifications, as well as provide you with a practical tool to use in your retirement counseling sessions.
3. You want us to help you get more out of your CRC®. Here are some suggestions:
a. Place “Why a CRC®?” brochures visibly on your desk and in your waiting room. You may order them behind the Certificant Login on the InFRE site.
b. Post the CRC® Principles of Conduct on the wall behind your desk and in your waiting room. You’ll find a version suitable for framing behind the Certificant Login on the InFRE site.
c. You can earn one free CE, or four a year, by taking the online quizzes affiliated with these newsletters. If you were to buy CE courses separately, you could easily pay $15-$25 a credit hour.
d. Let us know if you’d like us to submit articles written by CRCs to your broker/dealer’s or retirement system’s internal or client/employee newsletters on timely retirement topics to increase the visibility of the certification within your organization.
We welcome your ideas, and will continue to work hard to increase the visibility and value of your certification. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Betty Meredith, CFA®, CFP®, CRC®
InFRE’s Director of Education and Research