Financial Advisor Expertise and Certifications

Categories: Family Office | Insights |

What do all the letters mean?

A quality financial advisor likely has some advanced certifications and education, but the letters after their names may not be front-of-mind if you don’t work in the field.

At Domani Wealth, we’re proud to have many different credentials among our team, with many team members pursuing more than one specialized professional credential!

This enables us to provide a depth of knowledge to our clients, so each individual or organization client can reap the benefits of our wide variety of expertise. It also means our team members are constantly learning more, stretching into new ideas, and finessing the best practices we follow through continuing education credits and additional credentials.

Not only do clients benefit, but so do team members as we work together, as well as the interns we help to educate and train through our internship program.

As we continue to build out our Domani Wealth team, we’re always seeking credentialed professionals who share our core values of curiosity, integrity, accountability, discretion, teamwork, and positivity.

Without further ado, here’s a walk through Domani Wealth’s team member credentials:

Chartered Financial Analyst®       

A CFA® charter holder is one of the highest standardized credentials for portfolio and wealth managers, as well as investment and research analysts.

Those who go through the program to earn the CFA® Charter have delved into the foundational knowledge within the industry as well as critical, advanced investment analysis skills. The curriculum is regularly updated and immediately applicable to real-world appearances. Education includes ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, portfolio management, and wealth planning.

The designation is awarded by the CFA® Institute, a global nonprofit professional organization of more than 154,000 charterholders and financial professionals, throughout 165 different countries.

To achieve the charter, an individual must pass three levels of exams, as well as have qualified work experience directly involved with the investment decision-making process.

Meet our team members who are CFA® charterholders:


This qualification provides recognition of prowess in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement.

The certification is awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., and prequalifiers include having a bachelor’s degree, completion of several specific financial planning courses, and relevant work experience of three years or 6,000 hours of full-time work.

The curriculum’s scope includes professional conduct and regulations, financial planning principles, education planning, risk management, insurance, investments, tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.

Participants earning their certification must also demonstrate professional ethics in practice, and pass a formal exam, as well as complete ongoing education.

Once received, a CFP® individual must commit to always act via their fiduciary duty; in their client’s best interest.

Meet our team members with a CFP® credential:

Certified Public Accountant

Our team members who have their CPA licensure have passed the rigorous CPA exam and met work experience requirements.

A CPA must complete two years of work experience in public accounting or internal auditing, or working under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA. They must also have a bachelor’s or master’s degree with at least 24 credit hours focused on accounting.

This licensure is rigorous, with 80 continuing education credits required to be completed every two years.

The licensure is managed by state, and provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

At Domani Wealth, our CPAs specialize in a variety of areas: financial planning, investments, and taxes.

Meet our team members who are CPAs:

  • Jennifer L. Hill, Partner, Senior Wealth Advisor, Director of Practice Management
  • Jaqueline E. Keener, Senior Finance and Systems Analyst
  • Chris J. Rice, Portfolio Manager
  • Michael Spangler, Finance and Systems Analyst
  • Angie M. Stephenson, COO, Partner, Senior Wealth Advisor
  • Thomas K. Williams, CEO, Partner, Senior Wealth Advisor

Personal Financial Specialist

This credential is a specialty for CPAs who are experts at helping individuals with all aspects of their wealth management. It is granted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants only to CPAs with significant personal financial planning education and experience.

Having this certification demonstrates a powerful combination of extensive tax expertise and comprehensive knowledge of financial planning. PFS applicants study estate planning, retirement planning, investing, insurance, and other areas of personal financial planning.

A PFS applicant must also bring at least two years of business (or teaching) experience, or 3,000 equivalent hours in personal financial planning in the most recent five years before applying. They must also have completed at least 75 hours of personal financial planning education in the five years before applying.

For our Domani Wealth team members, this means our clients have the benefit not only of in-depth tax expertise from our CPAs, but also how tax savvy can interact with a financial plan to help clients meet their long-term goals.

Meet our team members with PFS designations:

  • Jennifer L. Hill, Partner, Senior Wealth Advisor, Director of Practice Management
  • Angie M. Stephenson, COO, Partner, and Senior Wealth Advisor
  • Chris J. Rice, Portfolio Manager

Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor

Along with individual retirement planning and wealth management, Domani Wealth also has several team members who specialize in business retirement plans, from selection to administration to regular reviews.

A Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor has demonstrated knowledge in and a commitment to working with retirement plans.

These professionals have demonstrated expertise to act as a business retirement plan fiduciary or help plan fiduciaries manage their roles and responsibilities. The certification is awarded by the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA).

Curriculum covers fiduciary roles and responsibilities, regulatory oversight, plan investment management, and plan management. Those who are awarded have passed an exam and are committed to adhering to the NAPA code of conduct.

Meet our team member who has earned his CFPA:

  • Steven P. Maher, Partner and Senior Wealth Advisor

Accredited Investment Fiduciary®

Issued by the Center for Fiduciary Studies, candidates must present with a combination of education, relevant industry experience, and/or professional development to qualify.

Applicants go through an online or in-person capstone program, accredited by the American National Standards Institute, and pass an exam.

Participants learn how to comply with fiduciary standards of care and introduces them to the 22 prudent investment practices developed by the Foundation for Fiduciary Services. The practices combine aligning compliance with industry best practices.

If you work with a financial advisor holding an AIF® designation, the advisor will be held to a standard of excellence.

Meet our team members with the AIF designation:


This array of specialty expertise allows Domani Wealth team members to work with synergy on client strategies and follow best practices to tailor advice to each individual need.

If you’d like to see how any of this expertise can help you realize your goals for a secure future, get in touch with us today!



Important Disclosure

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this article serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Domani. A copy of Domani’s current written disclosure brochure discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available upon request.


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