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The Top Three Reasons to Obtain Your TGPC Designation

This article originally ran on December 8, 2014.

By Michael A. Webb

In a recent PlanSponsor article, the NTSA’s Tax-Exempt and Governmental Plan Consultant designation was identified as a primary screening criterion for selecting an advisor. In other words, if you do not have the TGPC designation, you would not make the cut of advisors to be selected by a plan sponsor. However, the piece does not provide specific reasons as to why a TGPC designation is so valuable. In this article, we will discuss the top 3 reasons why you should obtain the TGPC designation.

Reason No. 1: It is the only 403(b)/457(b)-specific designation.

There are many employee benefits, investment and even retirement plan designations, However, there is just one designation that tells the world “I am a subject matter expert on 403(b) and 457(b) plans” and that is the TGPC designation. 

There are other articles that mention the fact that tax-exempt and public K-12/higher ed plan sponsors should specifically look for this designation in selecting advisors, as opposed to designations that are more generic in nature. Furthermore, I have seen the TGPC designation specifically referenced in more than one advisor request for proposal (RFP). Thus, by obtaining a designation that is specific to your marketplace, you may include yourself in certain advisor searches where you might not otherwise be a candidate. 

Practice Pointer: Advisors who obtain a TGPC designation may enjoy a competitive advantage over those who do not obtain such a designation.

Reason No. 2: You will learn. A lot.

I can establish, from personally having earned the TGPC designation, the veracity of this statement. As chair of the NTSA Communication Committee and frequent author for NTSA publications, I would imagine that you would think that I possess decent knowledge of the 403(b)/457(b) plan marketplace. But even I learned quite a bit during the education and examination process for the TGPC designation. The reason is that the market is so segmented: with ERISA and non-ERISA plans — and specific segments with their own unique sets of rules, such as church plans and dual-status entities — there is truly a lot to learn, and you will indeed learn it with the TGPC designation. 

Reason No. 3: You will gain more respect from your peer advisors. 

Those who have the TGPC designation know what it takes to obtain, and retain, the designation. The coursework is by no means easy, and it requires dedication to earn the designation. When I — or my TGPC peers — see that someone has earned the designation, if we don’t otherwise know the individual in question, our perception is that individual is most likely a cut above what we would encounter with the typical advisor. 


There are many designations an advisor can obtain in the marketplace, and the acronyms can be dizzying. But there is one designation that rises above the alphabet soup in our marketplace for the reasons described above: TGPC. 

I have chosen to obtain only a select few designations, and am proud to say that I am a member of the TGPC club. I hope you will join me in obtaining the premier designation of our highly specialized industry. For information as to how to obtain the TGPC designation, click here

Michael Webb, TGPC, AIF™, CEBS, is the NTSA Communication Committee Co-Chair and a Vice President at Cammack Retirement. 

Cammack Retirement is an independent retirement plan consulting firm specializing in non-profit industries. Offering tailored, actionable solutions, to help clients achieve the greatest return on their employee investment, Cammack Retirement delivers end-to-end solutions for complex retirement plan challenges.
Please note that this article is for general informational purposes only, is not intended to be taken as legal advice or a recommended course of action in any given situation. Readers should consult their own legal advisor before taking any actions suggested in this article.