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TitleAccredited Financial Examiner
About SOFE Certifications
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With over 1700 memberships across the world, SOFE or the Society of Financial Examiners is a known organization among specialists in the field of insurance, banking, credit, and financing. They provide a noteworthy certification program and set of standards to promote excellence in a specific area of expertise.
SOFE Certification Path
In general, there are three main designations given by SOFE to interested applicants. The first one is the Accredited Financial Examiner while the second option is the Certified Financial Examiner, which is further categorized as the Certified Financial Examiner and Certified Financial Examiner – Financial Analyst. Lastly, there’s also the Automated Examination Specialist. These validations are awarded after accomplishing their corresponding requirements and exams. In particular, the SOFE designations are targeted at specialists working in various industries like insurance businesses, banks, credit unions, saving companies, and lending platforms. And from the meaning of SOFE, their certificates are primarily suitable for financial examiners. Henceforth, if you have this vendor’s stamp on your profile, it’s easy to get a job role related to finance such as financial analysts, certified public accountants, and insurance employees. Not only that but this certification vendor also gives opportunities to new graduates with business or accounting degrees to opt for their designations.
Summary of Current Certifications
To get a clearer understanding of the SOFE certifying curriculum, let’s have a walk-through of their professional endorsements. The detailed list below provides you with an idea of the core topics as well as the best qualification for a specific specialist:
The first certification on the list is the AFE, which is designed for those with a bachelor’s degree, MBA, or Master of Science in accounting. Certified Public Accountants or CPAs are also welcome to pursue this certificate as well as non-accounting graduates, who have accomplished the required courses about accounting fundamentals, financer or economics, and business law. After the educational necessity, you then need to get a passing score in 4 different exams namely, the AFE1 (Life and Health Insurance Fundamentals), AFE2 (Property and Liability Insurance Fundamentals), AFE3 (Life and Health Insurance Accounting), and AFE4 (Property and Liability Insurance Accounting). The passing score for each of these exams is 70, so make sure to keep your eyes on the goal. In relation to your AFE journey, you also have to present an in-depth work experience, together with the membership and application approval requirements. Your application must be submitted and approved by the SOFE headquarters to ultimately earn the certification.
For the next SOFE designation, you may want to pursue the CFE. This is the next step after completing the AFE, which means it serves as a prerequisite to anyone planning to become a Certified Financial Examiner. Along with this, you are obliged to finish both Management and General Auditing courses which run for three semester hours each. Subsequently, it’s time to unlock the test requirements. By and large, there are a total of 4 tests necessary for the certification that highlight a specific area, starting with the CFE1, which is about the exam methods and management. The CFE2 and CFE3 address the enterprise management and reinsurance accordingly. As for the last evaluation or the CFE4, it takes on your knowledge in financial analysis. These exams come with a passing score of 74 each. And just like the AFE, related work experience is mandatory, together with being a member of SOFE and the approval of your certification application. As mentioned earlier, the CFE has two paths. For the Certified Financial Examiner – Financial Analyst, it has almost the same prerequisites as the other one. They technically differ from the education requirements. Here, you just have to provide a Management course for three semester hours. Those offered by CLU, CPCU, and LOMA are accredited courses for the CFE – Financial Analyst.
Applicants of the AES certificate must initially take into consideration the core qualifications, kicking off with the required exams. These are the AFE1 and AFE2, which were discussed earlier. Additionally, you have to pass the CISA evaluation from the famous ISACA as well as the current AES test from SOFE. In more detail, the AES exam is the ultimate evaluation of your knowledge and skills in NAIC’s Exhibit C, which addresses the evaluation of controls needed for information technology. This area is divided into two parts, so make sure you study everything. The test itself consists of 50 questions to be answered within 180 minutes or technically 3 hours. Plus, you have to get at least 74 points to pass the test. For the work requirements, you must be employed with an insurance department as an employee or as a self-employed that provides services. Another option is that you can also be working for a company that uses the service of a state insurance department. If you fit the criteria, then the next stage is to validate your 2-year experience as a full-time IT examiner with a focus on the NAIC Exhibit C. This can be cumulative as long as you can prove it in detail when applying for the AES application. And of course, the AES is only open for current AFE and CFE certification holders or general members of SOFE.
Dedicated to providing you quality education, SOFE makes it easy to prepare for their certifications. Though there are no training courses, you still get remarkable support from the official textbooks, which can be purchased directly from the SOFE’s partner sites. There are two options available ― the Institutes and Actuarial Bookstore. Before you place your order, make sure that you get the correct textbook edition as noted in the official exam study guide. All study guides are listed on the SOFE website for your reference. And if you want to build up your knowledge, the vendor offers the Career Development Seminar (CDS), which is a platform open for members and non-members. The CDS event is packed with relevant conferences and up-to-date sessions to keep your skills in demand. Additionally, there are plenty of education programs provided during the quarterly NAIC meetings for both regional and state chapter levels.
SOFE is practically designed for specific individuals who want to excel in their careers. And by obtaining a certification from such a vendor, you establish your command in your chosen profession. So, if you’re looking for a sublime way to refine your technical prowess in insurance financial regulation, this is the best community to be a part of.
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