What Is a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC)?

A Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) is a professional designation granted by the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC). The IARFC is a global organization that sets education and ethical standards for the financial planning profession.

Having the designation of RFC means that you are highly trained in financial planning, that you have passed exams to show your knowledge, and that you agree to abide by ethical standards.

What Does a Registered Financial Consultant Do?

As an RFC professional, you can offer advice on the following:

Retirement Savings Plans (i.e. 401(k)

RFCs help in choosing an investment plan that can help you achieve your retirement goals. As financial professionals who are well-trained in the area of financial planning, RFCs can help you plan for your retirement by choosing the appropriate savings plan for your situation and financial goals.

Taxes

RFCs can provide tax advice related to investments, retirement planning, and estate planning. They can also help taxpayers file their returns accurately and maximize their tax deductions.

Life Insurance

RFCs can help you understand what types of life insurance may be suitable for you, and also offer advice on whether or not to buy it. They can show you different kinds of life insurance policies along with the pros and cons of each one so that you can make an informed decision about which kind might work best for your situation.

Disability Insurance

An RFC will provide information about the differences between short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD), as well as between traditional plans and self-funded plans. By understanding how these types of insurance work, a client can choose a plan that is appropriate for his or her needs.

Investments & Asset Allocation

RFCs can help you create an investment portfolio that is in line with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. They can also help to rebalance your portfolio as needed in order to maintain its original parameters.

Money Management

RFCs can help people develop a budget and stick to it, as well as save for short-term and long-term goals. They can also help get out of debt and improve their credit.

College Planning

An RFC may also help in college planning for children by suggesting appropriate investments, tax-advantaged savings plans, various educational funding options (i.e. 529 Plans), etc. that can help reduce the cost of future tuition expenses or provide funds while they are still in school.

Social Security Planning

RFCs can guide you in planning for your retirement and maximizing your Social Security benefits. By understanding how the program works, a client can choose a plan that is appropriate for his or her situation.

Estate Planning

RFCs can help you create a will, set up trusts, and plan for the distribution of your assets after death. They can also advise you on the tax implications of estate planning decisions.

How to Become a Registered Financial Consultant

A candidate who wants to be a registered financial consultant has to meet all of the following requirements:

  • Minimum of three years full-time experience as a financial planner
  • Possess the required licenses to engage as a financial planner
  • A sound record of business integrity and good standing with all licensing bodies and organizations. He or she must have no previous record of suspension or revocation of professional licenses and designations.

Additionally, the candidate should be able to possess any of the following mentioned below:

  • Hold any of these professional designations: AAMS, CFA, CFP, ChFC, CLU, CPA, EA, LUTCF
  • Series 65 Securities License or one of the following combinations: Series 6 & 63, Series 6 & 66, Series 7 & 63, Series 7 & 66
  • Life insurance license
  • Bachelor’s or advanced degree in Business, Finance, Economics, or any related field
  • Education requirements can also be met by completing the entire course requirements for the following IARFC designations: RFA, RFC or MRFC

To continue with the designation, a candidate who passes the requirements above should pursue a continuing education which is forty hours every two years in the field of personal finance and professional practice management. Four hours every two years must be devoted to ethics

Source: https://www.finra.org/investors/professional-designations/rfc

Benefits of Hiring a Registered Financial Consultant

When you hire a registered financial consultant, you can rest assured that this person has the expertise to guide you in making the right financial decisions. Your RFC will keep all your best interests at heart and will not mislead or misguide you just for the sake of selling financial products.

Your RFC is also accountable to a board that enforces strict standards and guidelines that must be met for them to maintain their designation. Therefore, an RFC will always adhere to ethical business practices and operate by means of full disclosure and transparency with his or her clients.

An RFC’s education and credentials are recognized globally by many major institutions including insurance companies, banks, investment brokerages, etc. Being able to work with such credible professionals can help give your business access to a wide variety of products and services.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to financial planning and decision-making, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

By hiring a registered financial consultant, you gain access to a wealth of knowledge and experience that can help steer you in the right direction when it comes to your money.

Registered Financial Consultants are held to a high standard by their governing board, which helps ensure that they always act in their clients' best interests. Additionally, RFCs have expertise in many areas of finance and can provide guidance on everything from estate planning to retirement savings.
No, not all financial planners are registered consultants. To become a registered consultant, one must meet certain requirements, including having a minimum of three years' full-time experience as a financial planner and holding the appropriate licenses.
No, you do not need an RFC to manage your finances. However, working with an RFC can be beneficial, as they have expertise in many areas of finance and can provide advice and guidance on a variety of topics.
Yes, all registered financial consultants must adhere to a strict set of ethics codes in order to maintain their designation. Additionally, their education and credentials are recognized globally by major institutions. This helps ensure that your RFC is a credible and trustworthy source of financial advice.
To maintain their designation, RFCs must complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years. Four of these hours must be devoted to ethics education. This helps ensure that registered financial consultants are kept up-to-date on the latest changes in the personal finance industry.

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.