What is NAPFA?

NAPFA founders launched the organization in 1983 in part to address the inherent conflict of interest arising from advisors accepting commissions for sales. NAPFA is now the leading organization comprised of fee-only financial planners in the United States.

The organization has never wavered from that initial intention to provide objective, comprehensive financial planning services based on what’s best for the client.


Prioritizing Clients Over Commissions

Additionally, NAPFA maintains stringent membership requirements to ensure members maintain ethical and professional principles. Also, every NAPFA advisor signs and abides by the NAPFA fiduciary oath upon joining and every time they renew their affiliation.

With this oath, NAPFA-registered advisors pledge to:

  • Act in good faith and with truthfulness
  • Proactively disclose any possible conflicts of interest that may impact a client
  • Not accept compensation or referral fees for the sale or endorsement of financial products

NAPFA also requires members to complete a minimum of 60 continuing education hours in six different subject areas during every two-year cycle.

Professional development helps financial planners stay abreast of market changes, tax laws, and other developments to best serve their clients.


Benefits of Choosing a NAPFA Registered Advisor

There are a few key benefits to working with a NAPFA registered financial advisor.

  1. Client-Centered

    As a fiduciary, your planner commits to putting your interests above their own. That means proposing financial tools, products, and strategies that align with your unique needs and goals—without consideration of if or how they themselves may benefit.

    Financial advisors who work in a fee-only capacity cannot accept referral fees, commissions, or other benefits from financial companies and services they endorse. Instead, clients pay them directly.

    This fee-only model is intended to establish standards to provide independent and impartial guidance.

  2. Comprehensive

    NAPFA advisors are expected to take a holistic approach to short- and long-term financial planning. They can create customized plans that encompass various aspects of a client’s financial picture, including:

      • Cash flow and debt management
      • Estate planning
      • Education funds
      • Retirement accounts
      • Investments
      • Insurance

    NAPFA advisors are expected to know that your financial goals and objectives are just that—yours alone. No one-size-fits-all financial solution exists that could possibly meet every client’s needs.

    NAPFA stresses the importance of customized, comprehensive financial plans that move beyond stocks and investments and evolve with you at every age and stage of life.

  3. Competence

    The process to earn CFP® certification is intensive. NAPFA registration goes a few steps further. In fact, NAPFA’s standard requirements are among the most stringent in the financial industry. With ongoing education and peer reviews, NAPFA registered financial advisors are lifelong learners, committed to sharing that insight and knowledge with their clients.


Consider EP Wealth Advisors

Helping you achieve your financial goals is our priority. We bring an in-depth, “planning first” approach to help you get there. Moreover, as fiduciaries, we are mandated by regulation to act in the interests of our clients. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our fee-only model means we do not sell commission-based products, receive referral fees, or collect other forms of compensation, so we have reduced our conflicts of interest when making our investment recommendations.

Our dedicated advisors take pride in the relationships we have forged with our clients and their families over the years. It’s that personal connection and commitment to transparency that allows us to truly understand your goals and design a practical strategy to reach them—one step at a time.

If you are ready to create or update your financial plan, consider a Wealth Advisor at EP Wealth Advisors to lead the way. Call or connect online to schedule a financial health assessment with an advisor today.


The information presented here is not intended to be regarded as a comprehensive list of considerations, including but not limited to, categories, services, or qualifications that a client or prospective client should consider when assessing or comparing Financial Advisors and/or Financial Planners.

As the author of this piece, EP Wealth Advisors, LLC (“EPWA”) has tailored the messaging of this article to align with the categories, services, qualifications, capabilities and services that correlate with the profile, qualifications, and affiliations of the firm, its employees and the services it offers. EPWA makes no representations or warranties that the services offered by EPWA will satisfy your financial services requirements. Services offered by other advisors may be more suitable to your specific needs.

The need for, qualifications and type of Financial Advisor an individual client and/or prospective client necessitates are specific to the unique financial circumstances and objectives of each individual. The referenced material identified herein is limited in nature and angles towards attributes that align with the qualifications and affiliations of EPWA and its employees and/or services offered by EPWA.

There is no guarantee or warrantee that the services offered by EPWA will satisfy your financial service’s needs. Services offered by other advisors, including advisors who are not NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors, may be more appropriate to your specific needs.

This article is intended to educate on NAPFA and its corresponding standards and requirements. It is not intended to imply that advisors and firms that are not NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors are deficient, unethical, or that the services they offer will be inferior in any way. NAPFA Registration does not guarantee that a client or prospective client will secure investment success or a favorable experience and does not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance or results.

It is important to point out that not all of EPWA’s Financial Advisors are NAPFA Registered and/or are not CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professionals.

EPWA makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information presented in this report. EPWA has used its best efforts to verify the data included in this report. The information presented was obtained from sources deemed to be reliable. However, EPWA cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information offered. All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice.


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