If you search “professional designations” on Google, you will find 42 pages of designations for 25 professions in the United States. Some examples of how many designations in various professions are as follows:
- Law has 17
- IT industry has 61
- Real Estate has 31
- Engineering has 25
- Accounting and Finance (my professional category) has 45.
That is a lot of initials behind people’s names. What do those initials really tell consumers? I have shared with my clients over the years, as I have several initials behind my name, the following: “it means I have taken several hours of courses, past exams, had a time period of experience and maintain continuing education in the related designation. It does not tell you whether I am any good at what I do, just that I took the time to pass some exams and get credit for continuing my education. There are people in the business that have no initials and are very good at what they do. There are those in the business that have all the initials and are not very good.”
In my firm alone we have 5 sets of initials, to learn more about our designations and who holds each one click here. I heard it suggested recently, from someone with initials, that perhaps the only initials behind one’s name that really mean anything is “GOOD”.
I would totally agree and, if you are seeking a professional, I would recommend that you focus more on getting references, doing your due diligence and meeting with the professional to determine if in fact they may have the initials of “GOOD” behind their name. Trust, transparency, and respect are important things to look for in a wealth manager. All the designations and initials behind someone’s name are only an added bonus.