It’s hard to define, but almost impossible to mistake. People recognize it almost intuitively when they come across it. Professionalism is part of action, part abstraction: performance tempered by principles, a rare balance of skill and scruples, integrity and ingenuity blended to produce high service to others.
It’s the surest sign of dedication, the symbol of one committed to the highest standards.
The difficulty in finding professionalism in the financial services arena is in knowing what to look for and where. Do you start with a relative, friend, advertisement, or the financial section of your newspaper, business magazine or here on the World Wide Web? The surest and quickest route-and the one that will tell you the most about a prospective adviser’s qualifications-is narrowing the field to individuals affiliated with established professional organizations.
If you’re seeking an accountant, you’ll probably want to investigate candidates belonging to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. In the legal field, you wouldn’t consider anyone who doesn’t belong to the American Bar Association. For advice on life insurance and financial services, you’ll want to consult a member of the Society of Financial Services Professionals, CLU.
Some 30,000 Chartered Life Underwriters (CLU) belong to the SFSP, a national association formed in 1928. They are well versed in such areas as life insurance, income taxation, gift and estate planning, economics, accounting, planning for business and executives, employee benefits, financial statement analysis, and investments. They posses the acumen to advise you about a broad range of financial concerns.
The CLU, the industry’s most respected life insurance practitioner, is also knowledgeable about pensions, group health benefits, and retirement planning.
The CLU receives their designations from the American College, a fully accredited and highly respected educational institution in Bryn Mawr, PA. Completing the educational and experience requirements for the designation - which are broadly considered the most prestigious credentials in the industry - typically takes three to five years.
As rigorous and complete as the CLU curricula are, they simply aren’t enough to remain on the leading edge as a financial services professional. Most C. L. U.’s commit themselves to professional competence through continuing education, one of the Society’s most important purposes.
Daily change is perhaps nowhere so prevalent as in the life insurance and financial services. Ever changing legislation produce potential pitfalls and the need for timely solutions to clients’ financial planning needs, including minimizing taxes.
One continuing education tool every Society member receives is the bi-monthly Journal of the SFSP, considered the industry’s leading scholarly and information publication since its debut in 1946.
Members also have access to many other services collectively representing one of the most extensive and diverse continuing education programs of its kind. They include special publications, audio and video cassettes, national video teleconferences, and national and Chapter meetings lasting from one to five days.
Through these resources, Society members learn about new developments and strategies for the most effective accumulation and preservation of their client’s assets.
Society member’s commitment to continuing education is equaled by their pledge to practice with honesty and integrity. To become members, they must agree to abide by a stringent code of ethics demanding that they serve their clients as they would themselves.
The Society’s program for promoting and practicing this code is considered one of the most advanced in its field.
You can’t be expected to keep pace with the changing financial scene and the intricacies of ever-changing options. But you can expect to be well served by a professional who stays up to date by continually renewing his or her knowledge and moral commitment to clients through active participation in a responsive and conscientious professional association.
You’ll find such an individual in a member of the Society of Financial Services Professionals.
Society of Financial Service Professionals