Our most popular program
for a reason.

1 in 3 Americans Owns Shares of a Mutual Fund

Let the CFS program bring you up to speed.

Distinguish yourself

Sign up for a CFS® Mini-Course Today

Celebrating its 24th year, the CFS designation program at IBF is an intermediate-to-advanced course on mutual funds, ETS, REIT's, closed-end funds, and similar investments. You will learn about advanced topics in fund analysis and selection, asset allocation, and portfolio construction. In addition, you'll gain sophisticated investment strategies for risk management, taxes, and estate planning.

How Will the CFS Program Benefit You?

Learn the information that investors are seeking in an advisor

Stay informed with trending topics and fulfill the need for continuing education

Set yourself apart from your competitors

What Are the Benefits of Earning the CFS Designation?

  • Marks - Distinguish yourself with the CFS® designation to stand out from the competition
  • Referral Service - Take advantage of IBF's "Find an Advisor" service so that new clientele can find you
  • Reference Source - Free annual IBF Reference Sheets to help you access information quickly
  • Updates - Free IBF Quarterly Updates to save hundreds of hours of research
  • And more! Help

Join the thousands of members of the financial services community who have gone through the CFS program.

When you're ready to take a step forward with your career, request more information or give us a call at (800) 848-2029.

What Is Your Expertise?

It's time to find one; the CFS program can help you.

CFS Learning Objectives

  • Show clients how any investment can be easily understood and categorized
  • Learn what value stock sectors outperform their growth counterparts
  • Understand valuation numbers to determine when equities are fairly valued
  • See why gold, oil, and other commodities have become poor investments
  • Calculate the one measurement that can be universally used to measure all risk
  • Explain when indexing should be used and when active management is best
  • Discover effective substitutes for money market and high-yield bond funds

Call an enrollment advisor today at (800) 848-2029 to request for a CFS detailed course outline.

An Education Program Designed for Financial Advisors

The CFS program, exams, and case study are designed to teach you what a practitioner faces every day. You will gain enormous benefits from taking this course if you are an accountant, advisor, banker, broker, money manager, or planner. By the end of the course, you will have gained a foundational understanding of a modern practitioner with knowledge that will last a lifetime and help build long term clientele. As with all of IBF's designation programs, completing the CFS will contribute three units toward an eventual Master of Science in Financial Services degree.

Designations Package

Program: What Should I Expect?

Comprehensive program designed to be completed within 15 weeks

Study from your home, office, or anywhere at your own pace

Course broken down into six modules

Exams: What Should I Expect?

  • Convenient - Proctored exams allowed to be taken online
  • Guidance - Review questions provided for additional reinforcement
  • Practical - Real life scenarios for a more practical application Learn More

What is the Case Study?

You are presented with a one-page fact pattern about a hypothetical client who needs answers to their questions. Your completed response will be two to five pages in length of original, typed responses, just as if you were dealing with a real client. Your responsibility is to answer all of the clients concerns with specific suggestions and rationale.

For example, "Should the client's portfolio have more fixed income?" Your response may be, "Bond exposure should be increased at a 45% weighting." Then, you would list your reasons for why.

Your grade is divided into three portions:

  • Issue Spotting: 20%
  • Suggestions / Solutions: 60%
  • Presentation: 20%

Writing skills and analytical ability are essential in this business. IBF is the only certification body that requires a written case study. This is because your ability to assess, write about, and solve problems in a way a client can understand is a direct reflection of your overall success.

IBF's case study is designed to bring you up to speed and test your abilities in conditions that simulate the real world.

IBF is here to help you achieve your designation, as our students have successfully done for 24 years. When you're ready to take a step forward with your career, request more information or give us a call at (800) 848-2029.

Gain Your Designation

To gain your designation, you must have either 2,000 plus hours of work experience in the financial services industry or a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution.

You may take IBF programs prior to achieving either of these requirements, but a designation will not be granted until these have been done.

Once you have completed the program, you are required to provide us with the following information:

  • Job title
  • Dates of employment
  • Name of employers
  • Description of responsibilities
  • Hours per week
  • Educational history, including name of schools and dates of attendance

IBF may verify data through FINRA's Central Registration Depository (CRD) or by contacting an institution's registrar's office.

IBF is here to help you achieve your designation, as our students have successfully done for 24 years. If you need help providing this information, please call us at (800) 848-2029.

Your Education Continues with IBF

Courses offered by the Institute of Business & Finance are approved for continuing education (CE) credit.

The Certified Fund Specialist® (CFS®) program will count for the following hours:

IBF programs qualify for CE credit required by the CFP Board and the American College's PACE program. Our designations also satisfy the securities industry's CE requirements.

California Board of Accountancy60.0
CFP Board15.0
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors60.0
Professional Achievement in Continuing Education

Approvals are subject to change and you are responsible for confirming the credits approved by your state or organization.

Upon request, IBF will submit course completion information for CE credit. Students are responsible for any reporting fees. If you have questions, then please contact our Student Services Department .

Education You Need at a Price You Can Afford


Experience Requirements

Before becoming an IBF designee, all students must have at least 2,000 hours or more work experience in the financial services industry or a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

Once the student has passed all three examinations and has successfully completed the written case study, he or she will then be required to provide a job title, dates of employment, name of employer(s), a description of work-related responsibilities and duties, hours per week devoted to financial services, and educational background including attendance dates and degree(s) granted. IBF may verify employment records, qualifications and disciplinary history through FINRA’s Central Registration Depository (CRD) or by contacting a college or university registrar's office.

Do you have additional questions? Call an enrollment advisor today at (800) 848-2029.