The American College Introduces Tools to Help Companies Evaluate Professional Designations

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With the growing proliferation of financial services designations - including some of dubious quality pertaining specifically to advising seniors - companies, advisors and even regulators have increasingly been seeking guidance on which designations to recognize and which to avoid. Today, The American College, a non-profit institution with the highest level of accreditation and an 80-year history in financial services education, is offering additional resources to assist in this important evaluation process.

With the growing proliferation of financial services designations - including some of dubious quality pertaining specifically to advising seniors - companies, advisors and even regulators have increasingly been seeking guidance on which designations to recognize and which to avoid. Today, The American College, a non-profit institution with the highest level of accreditation and an 80-year history in financial services education, is offering additional resources to assist in this important evaluation process.

"We've seen some otherwise reputable firms suddenly disallow use of any credential with the word 'senior' or 'retirement' in the title," said President and CEO of The American College, Laurence Barton, PhD. "By looking for an easy answer that avoids any due diligence, these firms are doing a disservice not only to their advisors, but to the clients they serve. The right designation programs are incredibly valuable, and companies who are not experts in education leave themselves open to liability if they are not seeking support and guidance from an educational institution prior to setting appropriate policies in this important area."

"At The American College, we've been campaigning against 'rogue,' weekend designation programs for years," said Barton. "Paying a fee to get a so-called designation after a few days of study in a hotel does not meet professional standards in financial services education. But programs like the CASL retirement coaching designation, the gold-standard CLU® for insurance specialists, the ChFC® in advanced financial planning and a number of other credentials represent professional education of the highest quality."

The Designation Toolkit (theamericancollege.edu/designationtoolkit) being released today by The American College includes a six-point designation-evaluation format to assist companies with their due diligence process, guidelines for the use of designations by advisors and a new web link (theamericancollege.edu/ethicscomplaint) that can be used by the public to report any inappropriate activity by holders of designations issued by The American College. In addition, the Dean of The College, Walt Woerheide, PhD, CFP®, is available to help companies who need assistance with the methodology they are using to evaluate professional designations. Company representatives may contact Dr. Woerheide at 610.526.1398.

The American College is dedicated to leadership in innovative training and development that helps financial services companies and their employees succeed. As a non-profit educational institution holding the highest level of academic accreditation, The College has served as a valued business partner to banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, and others for 80 years. The American College's faculty represents some of the financial services industry's foremost thought leaders. For more information, visit http://www.TheAmericanCollege.edu

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Eric B. Gordon
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