How to Obtain the Certified Retirement Services Professional Designation

Are you a professional who helps people to adequately prepare for retirement? Whether you are a financial planner, retirement consultant, pensions manager, trust officer or an investment analyst, obtaining the Certified Retirement Services Professional (CRSP) credential from the American Bankers Association’s Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB) will not only enhance your ability to render well thought-out retirement advise, but also your career progression prospects. Read on to learn how you can be a CRSP.

1. What Do Retirement Services Practitioners Do?

Before describing how to become a CRSP, here is a brief list of what designation holders do in general:

  • Designing employee pension and retirement benefit plans for organizations
  • Helping employees to choose fitting pension and retirement benefit plans
  • Determining the eligibility of workers to retirement plans
  • Filing and processing retirement plans in accordance to relevant federal and state regulations
  • Counseling retirees on how to spend their retirement benefits
  • Revising and updating various retirement plans.

2. Eligibility Requirements

What kind of qualifications do you need to qualify for the CRSP credential? Well, you must have at least three years of professional experience working in a position that implements the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. You must also have completed a retirement and benefits program that is approved or recognized by the Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB).

If you have not completed an ICB-approved program, then you will need at least five years’ experience in ERISA and IRS codes.

Although the ICB does not state any education qualifications as an eligibility requirement, it is essential to note that you need at least an associate degree (mostly a bachelor’s) in finance or accounting to get hired as a retirement services practitioner and gain the required experience.

You will need a professional reference letter which is typically written by your employer or manager and presented to the ICB. The letter, which must have a corporate letterhead, should state that you possess the necessary retirement and benefits experience.

You will also need to sign the ICBs Professional Code of Ethics statement. If you have previously been convicted or fined for engaging in professional malpractices or violating relevant laws, you are required to disclose the information. Finally, submit your application to the ICB.

3. Applying for the Exam

Once your application is approved, you can apply for the CRSP examination. The ICB publishes the dates when the examination is offered, and your application must be received at least 60 days before the exam date.

Since the ICB doesn’t offer any training programs for CRSP exam candidates, it is your job to study for the credential in your own time and convenience. It recommends the following study resources:

4. Taking the Exam

Although the ICB still offers some of its examinations in paper-and-pencil format, the vast majority are computer-based. As such, you will likely take the exam from a PSI Testing Center near you. Consequently, you will need to register at the testing center of your choice at least 30 days before the start of the examination.

The 150-question CRSP exam takes three hours. Your scores will be processed, graded and released to you within four weeks. The passing score is determined by the ICB Advisory Board.

Candidates who attain the minimum passing score will be issued with a CRSP certificate thereafter.

See Also: How to Acquire the Diploma in International Financial Reporting

Does learning end with your acquisition of CRSP credential? Of course not! To maintain your certification, you must complete and report 30 continuing credits every three years, as well as pay an annual certification renewal fee.

So, as millions of Americans look to secure their futures, the demand for more competent retirement services will keep rising. There is no better way to prove your competence than earning the CRSP designation.