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Financial Planning and Wealth Management

This major is designed for students who want to pursue a career in financial planning and wealth management.  Firms may work primarily with individuals and families, or in some cases may also manage assets for foundations, trusts, or employee retirement plans. Financial planning professionals work in client-facing roles advising clients as well as in back-office positions managing plan development, asset management, operations, and compliance. As a CFP Board-Registered curriculum, the major combines the traditional finance curriculum with the education requirements for a student to take the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) examination after graduation. Certified Financial Planner™ is the most widely recognized professional designation within the financial planning profession.

CFP® Careers

Providing financial advice to individuals and families is one of the fastest-growing career opportunities for finance graduates, and is no longer strictly about client acquisition and product sales. Students should have excellent people skills to earn the trust of clients and the desire to support those relationships as the clients' needs and market conditions change. But success also requires a genuine interest in the financial markets and products the ability to converse with and educate clients at their level of understanding to help generate understanding and buy-in.

In addition to the client-facing roles advising and educating clients, there are back-office positions managing plan development, asset management, operations, and compliance.  Financial planning software support is another opportunity.

This career area encompasses several job functions and career paths, including financial planning, wealth management, private banking, insurance, estate planning and trust management, and employee retirement plan education and management. Graduates are eligible to take the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) exam to earn the highly recognized designation as a CFP® professional.

Student Competencies

  • Apply knowledge of financial planning principles, practices, skills and functions
  • Understand client interaction, communication and relationship management
  • Collect, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate qualitative and quantitative data about the client's personal and financial circumstances necessary to formulate recommendations
  • Use logic and reasoning to synthesize and integrate knowledge into cohesive and defensible recommendations matched to the client situation
  • Utilize oral, written and graphic communication skills appropriate to the client to summarize the situation and present recommendations
  • Understand how the CFP Board professional standards and enforcement, regulatory, and compliance issues are applied workplace
  • Develop the competence necessary for the CFP® exam

Experiential Learning

  • Specific application of concepts and skills in cases studies
  • Practical experience with assignments and projects that mirror workplace responsibilities
  • A capstone class that integrates and applies knowledge to write a comprehensive financial plan for a case household
  • Opportunities to travel to professional conferences to engage with professionals for continuing education and employment networking opportunities
  • Opportunities for internships with firms nationwide 
  • Integration of financial planning professionals in the classroom and through the inclusion of trade and professional journals into the curriculum

Targeted Skill-sets

  • Attention to detail
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Problem-solving and analytical perspective
  • Adaptability
  • Interpersonal skills and humility
  • Team-oriented, but capable of working independently
  • Work ethic and drive
  • Commitment to life-long learning

Example Entry Careers

  • Wealth Planner
  • Client Service Associate
  • Junior Planner
  • Financial Planning Associate
  • Financial Planning Resident
  • Associate Advisor
  • Financial Planning Analyst
  • Wealth Management Analyst
  • Paraplanner
  • Client Service Coordinator
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What Does a Finance Planner Do?

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the CFP® certification mark, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification mark, and the CFP® certification mark (with plaque design) logo in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.