Blog | Education and Designations

What is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) Designation? – With Commentary from Christopher Moore CLU®, CFP®, CHS™, EPC

In the 1980s, Christopher Moore’s father started a financial services business in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Through hard work and perseverance and despite not having any formal education, he built his business from the ground up into a successful company. Christopher joined the company in 2004 as a young man in his early 20s. He was able to work with his father for 8 years, learning the ropes and gaining a better understanding of the financial services industry before his father passed away. Christopher then took over the company and was tasked with continuing the excellent service and care for his clients. This focus on clients was and continues to be, the foundation of the business.  

Christopher made it his goal to obtain professional designations in the areas of financial planning so he could better serve his clients. One of those designations is the CLU. Christopher points out that “You don’t need to have the [CLU] designation to do [financial] planning, but it gives the client confidence that the professional is held to benchmark standards in the areas of legislation, education and fiduciary, etc.” 

 In other words, to Christopher, it isn’t just about how many letters are after his name, it’s about building his confidence to help clients meet their needs and wants regardless of their level of income. Also, it’s about giving the clients peace of mind that he knows what he’s talking about when giving them financial advice. 

 The Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation is great for that purpose. It’s one of many certifications that can work to build your confidence in helping your clients, as well as your client’s confidence in you. 

How do I become a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)? 

​A CLU designation is typically pursued by those with a well-established career in financial planning, given the fact that professionals with this designation deal with complex client issues related to wealth and wealth transfer like estate planning, life insurance, and taxes. From Christopher Moore’s perspective,  

 the CFP professional designation is very mathematical and logic-based in terms of cut and dry or right and wrong answers, but the education in the CLU program focuses on solutions for the client and the several different ways you can get there. In short, the CLU helped Chris gain more insight about client relationships and planning, along with being an active listener when helping your clients. 

 TheCLU designationis offered exclusively by the Institute for Advanced Financial Education (The Institute™). 

 To start the process of getting your designation:  

  •  take your core courses with Business Career College, then move onto the three CLU courses. These courses and exams are administered by Advocis (The Financial Advisors Association of Canada) so you need to order the three CLU courses from them. 
  • Live and/or recorded instruction are offered through BCC’sCLU Designation Program. 

How a CLU can help you better serve your clients 

While nothing major will change with regards to the clients you serve, the CLU, like other designations, gives you the education you need to feel confident in handling your client’s complex needs. “Nothing really changes in your world,” says Christopher Moore. The average person doesn’t know what a CLU is, but [having the designation] builds the confidence of the professional. You can deal with clients with low income or on subsidies, to super-high income, family trusts, and corporate structures.” In his final piece of advice, Christopher reiterates that focusing on the client’s needs is paramount. “Too many people sell for sake of commission, rather than focus on the client’s needs. There’s a huge difference between being a salesman and a planner.” 

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