Definition of Authorized Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS)


What is a Certified Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS)?

The Licensed Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS) is a credential for those who create, implement, and maintain business retirement plans. Unlike most other professional financial planning and consulting professional designations, the CRPS focuses on wholesale and business clients. It is awarded by the Faculty of Financial Planning to people who pass an exam that demonstrates their experience.

Successful applicants gain the right to use the CRPS designation with their names for two years, which can enhance job opportunities, professional reputation, and compensation. Every two years, CRPS professionals must complete 16 hours of continuing education and pay a nominal fee to continue using the designation.

Keeping up with changes in tax codes and other laws is important to a licensed retirement plan specialist. For example, the passage of the “Preparing All Communities for Retirement Enhancement” Act (SECURE) in December 2019 brought some major changes to the retirement industry. As of 2020, according to the new law, the age to take the required minimum distributions (RMD) is no longer 70.5 years, but 72. The SECURE Act also takes into account the fact that more older people are working until the end of the sixties and early seventies. The law allows contributions to traditional IRAs to continue past the previous age limit of 70.5.

Key takeaways

  • The Licensed Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS) is a business-focused retirement plan advisor.
  • CRPS professionals advise companies and help them implement and maintain retirement plans.
  • The CRPS credential is awarded by the College of Financial Planning and requires rigorous study and passing a comprehensive written exam.

Understanding from the Authorized Retirement Plan Specialist

The Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist program is a client-centered, case-study-based problem-solving approach. The study program to become a CRPS covers types and characteristics of retirement plans, including IRAs, small business retirement plans, defined contribution plans, non-profit plans, 401 (k) and 403 (b) plans, and government plans.

It also covers plan distributions, plan design and implementation, plan establishment and operation, and fiduciary matters. The designation is an acknowledgment of the complexity of establishing and executing a company sponsored retirement plan.

Individuals who have earned the CRP designation report a 20% increase in their earnings, according to the College for Financial Planning. With it, graduates can try one of seven courses in the university’s CFP Certified Professional Education Program. Completing the course can also provide up to 28 hours of continuing education credit.

CRPC professionals must keep up with current trends and new laws to better serve their clients, so every two years, they must pay a small fee and complete 16 hours of continuing education to maintain their designation.

The program costs $ 1,300 in addition to choosing between live and on-demand classes. For more information on certification or to enroll, visit the Financial Planning College’s CRPS information page.

Authorized Retirement Plan Specialist Coursework

The CRPS course enables candidates to master a wide variety of retirement plan types, such as SEP, SIMPLE, 401 (k), defined benefit plans, and more. Specific sections of the course include:

  • Introduction to ERISA and the Fiduciary Standard
  • Employer-funded defined contribution plans
  • Participant-led retirement plans
  • Retirement Plan Solutions for Small Business Owners
  • Selection, design and implementation of the retirement plan
  • Administration of ERISA compliant plans
  • Work with plan participants

Authorized Retirement Plan Specialist Exam

The CRPS program features open enrollment, which means that a candidate can enroll at any time as long as they pass the final exam within one year of enrollment. The first attempt at the final exam is included in the $ 1,300 price of the program.

The CRPS candidate can take the exam online through the College for Financial Planning online portal or live (although dates are limited).

Collegiate Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS) versus Collegiate Retirement Plan Counselor (CRPC)

Similar to the CRPS designation is the Authorized Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC), a professional financial planning designation awarded by the College of Financial Planning. Unlike the CRPS, which focuses on companies, the CRPC focuses on individual customers.

Assessors can earn the CRPC designation by completing a syllabus and passing a multiple-choice final exam. Successful applicants gain the right to use the CRPC designation with their names for two years, which can enhance job opportunities, professional reputation, and compensation. Every two years, CRPC professionals must complete 16 hours of continuing education and pay a small fee to continue using the designation.

CRPCs focus on retirement planning. The CRPC program is developed with a customer-centered approach to problem solving. Applicants gain in-depth knowledge of people’s needs both before and after retirement.

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Mark Holland

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