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Membership FAQ



Our most frequently asked questions:

GeneralComprehensive Plan


General
How long does the approval process take?
It takes approximately four weeks from the date NAPFA receives your application, ADV and comprehensive plan. Your ADV will be sent to an independent reviewer and your plan will be sent to a peer reviewer. Either individual may contact you directly via email if there are any questions. You will be given an opportunity to respond to questions and a chance to submit additional information. A peer reviewer may let you know that your plan has been approved, however it also takes the approval of your ADV and a review of your application to become a part of NAPFA. Once all elements are in place a congratulatory email will be sent to you from NAPFA. A toolkit with resources to enhance your membership experience will be mailed shortly after you are accepted into the organization.
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Can I use a plan created for a client that covers most, but not all of the details required?
Only if you enhance the client’s fact pattern to include the missing details, then make recommendations based on your analysis of the information. In other words you’ll need to expand the plan to include analysis and recommendations in all of the necessary areas.
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Comprehensive Plan
Who needs to submit a sample comprehensive financial plan for NAPFA's peer review?
Any individual applying for NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor Member status is required to submit a sample comprehensive financial plan.

 

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Is it okay to use financial planning software?
Yes, it’s okay to use financial planning software, but the reviewers want to see your own work contribution and input represented clearly. If the planning program you use doesn’t generate one or more of the documents we require (i.e., a net worth statement) you will need to supplement your plan with documents created in Microsoft Word, Excel, or a similar program. Although it’s okay to let the reviewer know that your plans typically include Morningstar-type reports, please don’t include all of the reports!
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Does the order of the information impact the review process?
Yes and no. The reviewers really appreciate plans formatted to follow the plan checklist because it makes it significantly faster to find the appropriate information. If your plan is formatted differently you can help the reviewers, and move your approval process forward faster, by including a copy of the plan checklist filled in with the page numbers from your plan that correspond to the various requirements.
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Is there anything else I should know to increase the chances of my sample plan being approved quickly?
Help the reviewer get to know your client’s current financial situation and his or her financial concerns and goals. Make the reviewer feel like a fly on the wall as you present this plan to your client. You may include copies of your client questionnaire or any forms you use to accomplish comprehensive data gathering.
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Will the reviewers pass judgment on my individual recommendations and assumptions?
The NAPFA reviewers don’t comment on the individual investment recommendations you make. If your assumptions fall outside of acceptable standards you will be notified and given an opportunity to justify or change your assumptions.
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Does the plan have to involve a real world client?
No, you can use an actual plan created for a client, a plan based on fictional information, or a plan based on a fact pattern supplied by NAPFA. If you use a client plan, please change the names and social security numbers to comply with current privacy laws. 
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How detailed should my plan be?
Fairly detailed. We expect you to use a comprehensive approach to both discovery and recommendations in the sample plan you submit. Even if there are areas you don’t typically address, we need to see the subjects covered in your sample. The following information should be addressed: Plan Checklist
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