Professionals call them advisor certifications, financial designations, and industry accreditations. This Watchdog tool helps you determine the quality of these advisor credentials so you select the professional with the best qualifications.
High quality certifications provide specialized knowledge that advisors use to help investors solve problems and achieve financial goals. Low quality certifications are fake credentials that advisors buy to look look more knowledgeable than they really are. In a Watchdog survey, 96.3% of investors said they would not select advisors who used fake credentials to gain control of their assets.
Watchdog researchers spend hundreds of hours per year gathering data from the websites of organizations that sponsor these certifications and conducting key word searches on the Internet. Then we email sponsors asking for missing information. It has been our experience, that high quality sponsors provide the missing information and low quality sponsors withhold the information. If a sponsor fails to respond we enter unknown for that field and reduce the quality rating of the credential.