A Fellow of the Secure Retirement Institute (FSRI) is well versed in what it takes to retire in a sustainable way. As a result, their knowledge covers a broad range of retirement topics, from investment management to customer experience. To learn more about the FSRI certification, the people who hold it, and their roles in retirement planning, read on.
An FSRI Defined
An FSRI designation requires education and training in retirement planning. Consequently, certificate holders have demonstrated understanding and skills to support retirement plans and retirement plan products and service retirement plan clients and advisors. Much of the material is focused on annuities and their use in retirement planning.
The FSRI certificate is optional and confers no specific privileges or powers on holders. However, it’s mean to enhance a professional’s career and show their willingness to learn and readiness to develop skills.
Many certificate holders work in support roles for companies in the retirement planning industry. Their employers, therefore, include asset management firms, insurance companies, distribution organizations, and record keeping companies.
FSRI responsibilities are often in operations, customer relations, compliance, marketing and distribution. Also, they may provide information or guidance directly to customers as well as company retirement plan administrators.
The FSRI certificate is issued by the Life Office Management Association (LOMA), an international insurance and financial services trade association. LOMA is nearly a century old and is based in Atlanta.
LOMA created the FSRI two years ago. It finalized the curriculum for the FSRI certificate requirements in 2017. Approximately 1,800 FSRI certificates have been issued so far.
The FSRI includes some unusually comprehensive educational material. Similar courses focus almost entirely on regulations, processes, plan design and products. However, FSRI courses delve into investment management; income and distribution planning; employee benefits; plan management and consulting; and sales and marketing.
The seven required FSRI courses each feature three sections. The three courses in the first section correspond to the requirements for LOMA’s Certificate in Retirement Essentials. They explore the needs of people preparing for retirement; products and providers; tax implications; and processes and tools used in planning for a secure retirement.
The three courses in the second section focus on the Associate, Secure Retirement Institute certificate. They examine how to calculate retirement income and evaluate income sources and strategies. They also look into how retirement products and products are marketed, regulated, and administered.
Lastly, the final section consists of a single course looking at the future of the retirement system. Anyone who has earned the Associate, Secure Retirement Institute certificate will earn the FSRI designation if they complete this course.
Annuities are a particular focus throughout. Annuities topics covered range from defining the various types of annuity and their use in retirement to administering them in the new business, accumulation, and payout phases,
Each of the first six courses concludes with a self-proctored multiple-choice exam of at least 60 questions. The test for the final course is proctored and consists of 40 multiple-choice and two essay questions.
Costs in Time and Money
The FSRI certificate costs $1,880 for members of LOMA and $2,880 for all others. The six courses in the first two sections require from eight to 16 hours of study each. The courses in the second section are more time-intensive. As a result, the final course calls for 25 to 30 hours of study.
LOMA gives applicants six months from the time they sign up to take the courses to complete the self-paced curriculum.
After receiving the certificate there are no further requirements. However, certificate holders to have to promise to follow a code of ethics. LOMA does not stipulate continuing education, renewals or other follow-up requirements.
The Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist (CRPS) certificate from the College For Financial Planning is less expensive and covers much of the same material. However, the Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist is primarily aimed at advisors rather than marketing, support, operations and technical personnel.
More than 220 organizations use FSRI in their work, according to LOMA. But the fact that they have granted 1,831 certificates in only a few years suggests it will be widely used.
For people in operations, call center and technical roles at retirement industry firms, the FSRI can help open doors to advancement. Above all, it can reassure consumers seeking retirement plan help that they know the industry.
The Bottom Line
An FSRI doesn’t provide special powers or privileges. But it calls for a relatively modest amount of time and money and the curriculum covers a broad range of retirement topics. Further, it suggests that a professional knows a good deal about retirement planning, annuities, and the retirement system overall.
While there are other certifications like it, the FSRI can be similarly helpful in advancing a retirement professional’s career. Meanwhile, it can help future retirees determine a financial advisor’s comfort with retirement planning.
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