The American College and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) have teamed to offer a new designation for financial service professionals in the insurance, securities and banking industries.

   The newly created Financial Services Specialist (FSS) designation, as described by the college and the NAIFA, is designed to give sales reps a baseline education in financial planning and sales skills.

   The curriculum for the FSS designation consists of six courses that include a course in ethics and five others in categories that include basic financial planning concepts, understanding the financial services market, communication skills and understanding the client life cycle.

   The financial planning topics include estate, investment and retirement planning. The courses also include instruction on investment, annuity and insurance products.

   "The financial services industry provides a diverse and complex series of products and services," says Larry Barton, president and CEO of The American College. "Knowledgeable financial advisors and their support staff are an essential customer service ingredient. The new FSS program will provide insurance agents, individual financial advisors and their staff with the information and techniques they need to provide enhanced customer service and be successful in today's financial planning marketplace."