Julie Summa, Former Director of Marketing & Communications
July 19, 2020
Sometimes scanning a whole string of credentials behind a financial advisor’s name can be puzzling.
Yet, in the world of financial planning, each one of the hard-earned credentials means an advisor has received education in a specific area to better help the clients they serve.
In this article, you’ll learn how Johnne Syverson was a sounding board in the creation of the education curriculum for one of the credentials and how he made history as part of the inaugural graduating class.
Most clients are encouraged when their financial planner has the credentials of CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, or CFA®, Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder. These designations indicate that the advisor has met extensive education requirements in the area of financial planning and investment management.
According to the American College of Financial Services, CFP® CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners are rigorously trained in 72 areas of financial expertise and accrue thousands of hours of experience prior to earning their certification.
According to the CFA Institute, to become a CFA®, a person must complete three levels of curriculum, each with its own exam. He or she must also complete work experience that is directly involved with the investment decision-making process.
One of the lesser known credentials is CAP®, Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy. A CAP® is trained in philanthropic giving and helps clients with effective charitable giving as part of their larger financial or estate plan.
Cofounder Johnne Syverson was among the first in the nation to attain the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) designation from the American College of Financial Services. The CAP® program is a three-course, graduate-level program focused on the best strategies for philanthropic planning.
On June 8, I visited with the manager of the CAP® Program and Academics at the American College of Financial Services. At that time, she informed me that Johnne is one of only 40 CAP® professionals in the state of Iowa and one of 2,073 nationwide. Because Syverson Strege has three CAP® professionals on staff, the firm is positioned to educate and help clients with their charitable endeavors.
Johnne was part of the first graduating class of 35 students to receive the designationin 2005. Not only was he in the inaugural graduating class, he was also a sounding board for the Chair of Philanthropy for the College when they were just getting the CAP® designation up and running.
Johnne’s input helped in the development of the original curriculum for the CAP® study materials. To this day, Johnne’s name is still mentioned in the video curriculum referencing him as an early adopter of the CAP® designation.
Johnne has also been an encourager of other professionals receiving the designation. He formed a local study group in 2004 and invited eight other local attorneys, fundraisers, and planners to join him every other week for a 12-week period in preparation for the three graduate-level courses and exams.
Johnne effectively uses his CAP® education not only with clients, but also in his work with Syverson Strege’s PEP (Planning for Effective Philanthropy) program. In the PEP program, Syverson Strege works directly with nonprofits to provide donor education on charitable giving tools.
It is wise to pay attention to credentials and what they mean. If you know of someone who already has an advisor, encourage them them to check out their advisor's credentials. If they are looking for an advisor, encourage them to find one who has the proper credentials to help them create a successful financial plan.