CLU Institute Announces CLU Challenge Exam

A Professional Choice for Non-Designated Advisors

Toronto (November 20, 2003) The CLU Institute today announced a new program that would allow certain experienced financial advisors to earn the coveted Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation if they qualify and then pass a challenge exam. Ordinarily, an advisor earns the CLU designation after the completion of three specialized courses, taken following the completion of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) course of study.

The challenge exam program recognizes that many advisors have acquired significant skills in advanced life insurance and estate planning through many years of experience in working in the industry, advising clients, and participating in mandatory continuing education programs.

“This is a bridging program that will allow advisors who have many years of experience in the industry, but who do not currently hold a professional designation, to effectively demonstrate their knowledge,” said Kristan Birchard, CLU, chair of the CLU Institute. “Our goal is to offer these veteran advisors a one-time opportunity to put their knowledge to the test and be recognized for the valuable advice they offer their clients.”

“Not all learning is done in the classroom,” said Deborah Kraft, CLU, a trustee of the Institute and chair of the task force that is developing the challenge exam program. “Many advisors have acquired extensive skills and knowledge through hands-on career experience. We are offering them an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities through a formalized process that will lead to the CLU designation.”

The challenge exam will thoroughly test candidates on their knowledge of the concepts taught in the CFP and CLU curricula. The Institute will offer optional preparatory courses in advance of the exams. Both the courses and the exams will be organized in major centres across the country, beginning in April 2004.

“We anticipate that this will be a one-time opportunity,” said Terry Taylor, chief operating officer of the Institute. “The first prep course will be in April, the first exam will be in May, and the last rewrite exam will be in October. Candidates will only have six months to participate in this program.”

Candidates will need to meet qualifying criteria in order to write the exam. The criteria will consider years of relevant work experience and formal education programs in related disciplines. In addition, letters of reference from two current CLUs must be submitted. All applications and documentation can be submitted online, beginning January 1, 2004.

The CLU Institute is the professional organization that administers and promotes the Chartered Life Underwriter of Canada designation. The CLU is the designation that denotes a specialist in advanced life insurance applications and estate planning solutions. More than 3,600 advisors are authorized to use the CLU designation.

Advocis is Canada’s largest association of financial advisors, with members in 50 chapters across the country. Advocis members adhere to a strict Code of Professional Conduct, meet ongoing continuing education requirements, and are committed to putting the interests of their clients first.

Advocis ( and the CLU Institute ( are divisions of The Financial Advisors Association of Canada.