FAQs for CPA/PFS Credential Holders
FINRA Series 65 Waiver
- How do I apply for a waiver of the Series 65 based on my CPA/PFS credential?
- What is required to maintain the CPAPFS credential?
- What is the correct use of the CPA/PFS credential?
- May I use the credential CPA/PFS by itself behind my name?
- Can a firm include the credential "Personal Financial Specialists" or "CPA/PFS" on its letterhead and in marketing materials?
- If I am no longer a member of the AICPA, can I still use the CPA/PFS credential?
Return to the Overview of the CPA/PFS Credential
How do I apply for a waiver of the Series 65 based on my CPA/PFS credential?
If you have supplied your individual (not your firm’s) CRD number on your CPA/PFS application, you are included in a file the AICPA sends weekly to FINRA. Check the box on FINRA’s Form U-4 that indicates you hold the CPA/PFS Credential; FINRA will compare your U-4 information against the AICPA file (authorizing the Series 65 waiver).
If you receive notice FINRA does not have a record of your CPA/PFS, it may be due to a missing/incorrect CRD number on your CPA/PFS application. Contact the AICPA service center at 888.777.7077 to update your CRD number; then, resubmit the U-4 to FINRA.
What is required to maintain the CPA/PFS credential?
Credential holders must pay an annual $370 fee and meet CPA/PFS recertification requirements annually:
AICPA membership in good standing
Valid and unrevoked CPA permit, certificate or license issued by a legally constituted state authority and which is in active status
20 hours of CPD related to the PFP body of knowledge*
Submission of a signed Statement of Intent to comply with all recertification requirements (CPA/PFS Credential holders will be instructed to report their recertification requirements at the appropriate time).
*A resource page on this topic can be found at: www.aicpa.org/credsupport. This webpage includes important details related to continuing professional development, credential recertification requirements, a glossary of terms, and an FAQ. For questions specific to recertification requirements, you may email our staff at: email@example.com.
What is the correct use of the CPA/PFS credential?
The use of "CPA/PFS" on letterheads, business cards, and other marketing materials is governed by the rules of the board of accountancy in the state(s) in which you practice. The AICPA does not currently have a prescribed format for the credential.
Most state accountancy laws are currently silent on whether CPAs can use the specialty credential. In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Ibanez case, which held that states couldn't prohibit a CPA from using a specialty credential, such as the CPA/PFS credential, unless there is factual proof of real or potential harm. If you check with your state board and run into a problem in using the credential, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May I use the credential CPA/PFS by itself behind my name?
Under the AICPA's Code of Professional Conduct, utilizing the credential by itself would not cause a member to be in violation of Rule 102—Integrity and Objectivity (misrepresenting facts) or Rule 502—Advertising or Solicitation. Please check with your state board of accountancy as state accountancy rules may impose other restrictions.
Can a firm include the credential "Personal Financial Specialists" or "CPA/PFS" on its letterhead and in marketing materials?
The CPA/PFS is an individual credential and not a firm credential. However, it is permissible under AICPA Ethics Rule 502 for a firm to hold itself out as Personal Financial Specialists and to use the CPA/PFS credential on its letterhead and in marketing materials only if all partners or shareholders of the firm currently have the PFS credential. An individual member who holds the credential may use it after his or her name. Please check with your state board of accountancy as state accountancy rules may impose other restrictions.
If I am no longer a member of the AICPA, can I still use the CPA/PFS credential?
No. Only regular AICPA members in good standing can use the CPA/PFS credential. If your AICPA membership is terminated, you will no longer be able to use the CPA/PFS credential and your CPA/PFS certificate must be returned to the AICPA.