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Professional Certification and Designation

AIF® Accredited Investment Fiduciary®. The AIF® designation represents a thorough knowledge of 
and ability to apply fiduciary practices. The course training and designation help mitigate liability by 
instructing in practices that cover pertinent legislation and best practices. The designation is the industry's 
first and only designation that demonstrates knowledge and competency in the area of fiduciary responsibility 
and communicates a commitment to standards of investment fiduciary excellence. Holders of the AIF® mark 
have successfully completed a specialized program on investment fiduciary standards and subsequently passed 
a comprehensive examination. AIF® designees have a reputation in the industry for the ability to implement a 
prudent process into their own investment practices as well as being able to assist others in implementing 
proper policies and procedures.

CTFA Certified Trust and Financial Advisor.  The CTFA designation is awarded to individuals who 
demonstrate excellence in the field of personal trust, have graduated from a personal trust school program, 
and have passed the CTFA exam. The four areas of discipline which encompass the CTFA designation include: 
(a) Fiduciary Responsibilities and Trust Activities; (b) Personal Finance, Insurance and Estate Planning; 
(c) Tax Law; and (d) Investment Management.

CRSP Certified Retirement Services Professional.  The CRSP designation is awarded only to individuals 
who have illustrated distinctive knowledge in the field of retirement services, have graduated from an employee 
benefits program, and have passed the CRSP exam. The areas of discipline covered by the CRSP include: 
(a) Plan Type, Design and Installation; (b) Legal and Regulatory Compliance; (c) Operations and Accounting; 
and (d) Investments.

CPA Certified Public Accountant.  The CPA certification allows individuals to practice as a licensed certified 
public accountant in the United States.  In order to become a CPA, it is mandatory to pass the Uniform 
Certified Public Accountant Examination, as well as a special examination on ethics, which is set by the American 
Institute of Certified Public Accountants and administered by the National Association of State Boards of 

CFIRS - Certified Fiduciary & Investment Risk Specialist. The CFIRS designation is awarded to individuals 
who have demonstrated an understanding of fiduciary and investment services and products, administration, 
securities operations, investments, audit, compliance and risk management.  The CFIRS designation is granted 
upon completion of a three-year course of study and a comprehensive certification examination.

J.D. - Juris Doctor. This is the technical name for a law degree. To earn the degree, lawyers must successfully 
complete a rigorous three year course of study covering a broad range of subjects including trusts and estates, 
business law, real estate law, contracts, torts, constitutional law, civil procedure, criminal law, legal writing and 
research, legal ethics and more. To practice in a state, a lawyer must be licensed, which means passing the 
state's bar exam or having the requisite training and/or experience to be accepted under the state's waiver/rules. 
All lawyers employed by American Trust Center are licensed in North Dakota and may also be licensed in 
other states.