Accreditation Process

Why is the IARFC creating an accredited designation?
Who is giving the MRFC accreditation?
What are the benefits of the MRFC accreditation?
What is the MRFC Certification Board?
When does the IARFC get final approval for accreditation? 


Obtaining Another Designation

I already have a designation, why do I need another one?
Why should I become an MRFC?
Can I stay an RFC®?
I let my RFC® designation lapse; can I join again as an RFC®?
Can I still become an RFC®?


MRFC Requirements

What are the requirements to become an MRFC?
Can I be grandfathered?
I don’t have 4 years’ experience – now what?
Do I need to submit a plan? 
Do I have to take the exam?
Do CE requirements change?
What does it cost to become an MRFC?


Exam Information

How do I sign up for the exam?
What is the content of the exam?
How can I prepare for the exam?
Who is doing the testing and where are they located?
Can the test be taken online?
How long is the exam?  How many questions? 
What is the passing grade?
What if I don’t pass the exam?
Is there an appeals process for the exam?
Do I have to retest to renew?

Accreditation Process


Why is the IARFC creating an accredited designation?


The IARFC is creating an accredited designation because our Members have asked for it. For years, Members have felt resistance from their compliance departments and from the public because the RFC® designation was not accredited.  The process of accreditation allows an independent third party to evaluate the programs of the IARFC and make sure that the work required meets standards recognized by the financial services industry.  The accrediting Association will look at technical ability, independence, and ethics and make sure that the overall workings of the organization are done for the benefit of the designation holders and other members.   In today’s competitive environment, both in the financial services industry and in the overall marketplace, it is vital that an Association such as the IARFC maintains highly sought and achieved standards.  To that end, it has been decided to move forward as an organization that provides a registry of professional practitioners.


Who is giving the MRFC accreditation? 


The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) was chosen.   This Commission has been in place since 1987 and was developed originally by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE).   The NCCA standards require that their applicants demonstrate a valid and reliable process for development, implementation, maintenance and governance of the certification program.   It was developed to help ensure the health, welfare and safety of the public through the accreditation of a variety of certification programs that assess professional competence.   To date:  NCCA has accredited approximately 300 programs from more than 120 organizations (for example: CFP® and CSA®).


What are the benefits of the MRFC accreditation?


Having an accredited designation allows the consultant to expand their marketing reach.  By holding a designation that has received third party accreditation; the consultant can utilize that fact in marketing and prospecting materials.  The accredited designation holds a higher level of authority in the minds of the public and the financial profession can leverage that appearance of strength.  The IARFC will get the advantage of public acknowledgement that their policies meet high standards and stringent requirement.  This benefit allows the public to know that when they engage the services of an MRFC designee, they are doing business with the best of the best in the financial services industry.


What is the MRFC Certification Board?


The MRFC Certification Board (MCB) is the controlling body that is responsible for the accredited designations.  A major role of an accrediting agency is to protect the public and as part of that role, the accrediting agencies require an independent Certification Board to oversee the designations they accredit.  The MCB will consist of at least five (5) Board representatives. Four (4) will be individuals qualified by education, experience and in good standing. One (1) will be a public representative. as this is a new certification and ther are very few individuals that are currently certified as MRFCs, the goal in the future is for the four (40 individuals to hold the MRFC credential. the IARFC will rely on the MCB to provide input on the current state of the financial services industry and to help it maintain the credential as a viable representation of the cream of the crop of financial services professionals.


When does the MRFC Certification get final approval for accreditation? 


The process is a long journey.  Every policy and procedure has been examined, documented and amended as needed for scrutiny by a third party.  As the process continues into 2017 and the one year time passage has been achieved, the application is being submitted to the NCCA for approval. Once the application is submitted, there is usually a 60-90 day review period.


Obtaining Another Designation


I already have a designation, why do I need another one?


The public knows that designations add credibility to a consultant’s qualifications.  For many in the public, it is reassuring to see the ‘alphabet soup’ after a name.  It says a consultant is held to a higher standard; and has put effort into educating themselves to offer the best possible services.  While the public may not know what each designation means, they do understand that a consultants has gone above and beyond.


Why Should I become an MRFC?


This is a chance to elevate to the next level of professionalism.  It is the next rung on the career ladder.  It says to clients and prospects that even though a consultant may have many years of experience under their belt, they are always striving to better themselves, which in turn means a consultant can provide better services to their clients.  It tells clients and prospects that a consultant takes their position in the lives of their clients seriously; and isn’t planning to go anywhere soon.  When this process is complete, members will have something substantial to set them apart as qualified, ethical and competent under an official accreditation.


Can I stay an RFC®?


The RFC® designation will remain in place.  While the IARFC believes the MRFC is a great opportunity; it is also understood that many members may not want to take an exam or meet further requirements for the MRFC designation.  Those members who would prefer to remain an RFC® will be able to maintain their current designation.


I let my RFC® designation lapse; can I join again as an RFC®?


New candidates (including those who were previously members and are joining the Association again), will have the opportunity to join the IARFC as an RFC® or MRFC.  Of course, candidates will have to adhere to all guidelines in place for their preferred designation.  For the MRFC, this will include submitting an evidence of competency and passing the MRFC examination.


Can I still become an RFC®?


The RFC® designation will remain in place, so candidates who prefer not to take an exam will be able to join the IARFC as an RFC®, provided they meet all qualifications.


MRFC Requirements


What are the requirements to become an MRFC?


To be approved to sit for the MRFC exam, the candidate must first meet the MRFC Qualification Requirements and send in an Application along with the application fee.   The application must be submitted in writing or via fax, filled out completely and signed by the candidate and a witness (electronic signatures will not be accepted).   Applications will not be accepted without payment.  Candidates for the MRFC designation who are existing RFC® designees are required to submit an application for the MRFC designation and application fee.  All applications will be reviewed and notification given regarding their eligibility and the next steps of scheduling their exam.


Can I be grandfathered?


There is no provision for a back door or grandfathering policy of an RFC® into an MRFC.  According to the strict NCCA Standard 8 which addresses this topic: The Certification Program must award certification only after the knowledge and/or skill of individual applicants has been evaluated and determined to be acceptable.   The adoption of an “everyone test” protocol in lieu of attempting to grandfather such a large group of RFC®s establishes a clear policy that the new credential is standards-based  and built on a set of comprehensive policies and procedures.  It will require everyone to demonstrate competence measured against what will be a new, rigorous professional competency standard.


I don’t have 4 years’ experience – now what?


Those with less than 4 year experience may still join the IARFC as a Registered Financial Associate (RFA®).  This designation was created for those members who do not have the required four years’ experience for a higher designation.  Once you have achieved the four years full time experience, you may then apply for the MRFC designation.  This would include paying for and taking the MRFC exam.  Once all requirements have been met, the designation would be changed to the MRFC at the next renewal following the time the experience requirements have been met.


Do I need to submit a plan?


No, A plan is not required.


Do I have to take the exam?


Yes.  The test is mandatory in order to evaluate the level of basic knowledge of an MRFC.  There has to be a criterion to treat all applicants the same in order to obtain the accredited designation.  The exam is given to everyone.


Do CE requirements change?


The CE requirements for the MRFC designation will remain the same:  designees must complete 40 hours of CE per calendar year; with 4 hours being devoted to Ethics subjects.  Designees must keep records in their office for three years (the current year plus two previous) and submit these records to the IARFC in the event of an audit.


What does it cost to become an MRFC?


The process of becoming an MRFC includes the following.   

1. Application fee of $100

2. Exam fee of $300.

3. Recertification fee of $300 per year. for newly accredited MRFCs, the recertification fee will be due one (1) year after the date of the initial certification.  

All of the fees are listed on the MRFC Fee Schedule.


Exam Information


How do I sign up for the exam?


To start the process first submit an Application and fulfill the MRFC Qualification Requirements.  The Application must be accompanied with the Application fee. 

               

What is the content of the exam?


The examination encompasses a broad range of topics.  These topics were determined from a Job Task Analysis Survey promulgated early in the process.  The bank of exam questions was written using this MRFC Blueprint Exam Content Outline.


How can I prepare for the exam?


Download the MRFC Blueprint Exam Content Outline – this gives the percentage which indicates the weight of each domain.  Additionally the IARFC has compiled a list of MRFC Exam Reference Material to help exam preparation.  There are future plans to develop more hands-on study programs – although they will not be required.


Who is doing the testing (exam) and where are they located?


Comira is a full service testing company with a dedicated team of professionals, over 500 testing centers and technology to support even the most complex testing programs.   Comira is one of the most trusted computer-based testing providers in the industry.  To find a test center click here:  http://candidate.comiratesting.com/comira/sitesearch.php.


Can the test be taken online?


To follow the strict accreditation requirement, the MRFC exam has to be taken at a proctored test site.   There are no provisions to take it online but it is a computer-based exam.


How long is the exam?  How many questions? 


The exam is 125 questions.  100 questions will be graded, 25 will be considered “pre-test” questions that are not graded.  The ungraded questions are inserted into the exam randomly;. The answers will help us test the validity of these questions and determine whether they should be used on future exams.  The testing window allows for 3 hours to take the exam and the grading will be based on the results after 3 hours.  Candidates are not given more than 3 hours for the exam.


What is the passing grade?


The passing score of the exam was determined using current psychometric analyses and is supported by statistical evaluation and conferences with Subject Matter Experts.  Candidates need to score a minimum of 67% on the exam to receive a passing score.


What if I don’t pass the exam?


A candidate who does not pass the certification exam on the first attempt is allowed to retake the exam after a thirty (30) day waiting period. The candidate is allowed three (3) attempts to successfully pass the exam, with a waiting period of thirty (30) days between each failed administration. For each repeated failure after the third attempt, the candidate is required to wait a year before attempting to take the exam again. For each retake attempt, the candidate must re-register, meet all the eligibility criteria and pay the full exam fee.


Is there an appeal process for the exam?


An MRFC candidate may request an appeal of their final exam score. The request must be received in writing on the official Exception Request/Appeals form within thirty (30) days of the examination date. Decisions are communicated in writing only. All decisions are final.


An MRFC candidate may request a hand scoring of their exam by submitting in a written request. The MCB has the right to assess a fee for any rescoring requests. Scoring requests must be received within thirty (30) days when the candidate is informed of their exam result. all rescoring determinations are final.


 Do I have to retest to renew?


No. The candidate only has to take and pass the exam once.   The only requirements going forward are to pay the annual dues, do the 40 hours of CE per calendar year, and remain in good standing with all licensing bodies and organizations.

Take the Next Step


An MRFC financial consultant demonstrates a given standard of expertise by passing an assessment that is based on a core set of knowledge, skills and abilities that represent competency in the field.



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