Chris D. Hardy, CFP®, EA, ChFC®, CLU®, AIF®, NTPI Fellow® Founder and CEO
As founder and CEO of Paramount Investment Advisors, Inc. we acknowledge and embrace our fiduciary responsibility to you. We accept the accountability of the recommendations that we provide to our clients.
Acting as the CFO of your personal finances, we apply comprehensive strategies that help manage your financial needs and goals. We have the experience and credentials to lead you toward financial independence.
Outside of running a successful tax firm and an investment advisory firm, Chris serves his local community by sitting on the board of three non-profits while coaching his children's sports activities. He enjoys reading from his personal library of over 2,000 books, playing golf, wake surfing, and competing in triathlons. Chris is a NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor and maintains the following designations and certifications:
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® and federally registered CFP (with flame design) marks (collectively, the “CFP® marks”) are professional certification marks granted in the United States by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (“CFP Board”). The CFP® certification is a voluntary certification; no federal or state law or regulation requires financial planners to hold CFP® certification. It is recognized in the United States and a number of other countries for its (1) high standard of professional education; (2) stringent code of conduct and standards of practice; and (3) ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients. Currently, more than 62,000 individuals have obtained CFP® certification in the United States. To attain the right to use the CFP® marks, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:
Education – Complete an advanced college-level course of study addressing the financial planning subject areas that CFP Board’s studies have determined as necessary for the competent and professional delivery of financial planning services, and attain a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university (or its equivalent from a foreign university). CFP Board’s financial planning subject areas include insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning;
Examination – Pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Examination. The examination, administered in 10 hours over a two-day period, includes case studies and client scenarios designed to test one’s ability to correctly diagnose financial planning issues and apply one’s knowledge of financial planning to real world circumstances;
Experience – Complete at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience (or the equivalent, measured as 2,000 hours per year); and
Ethics – Agree to be bound by CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, a set of documents outlining the ethical and practice standards for CFP® professionals.
Individuals who become certified must complete the following ongoing education and ethics requirements in order to maintain the right to continue to use the CFP® marks:
Continuing Education – Complete 30 hours of continuing education hours every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and other parts of the Standards of Professional Conduct, to maintain competence and keep up with developments in the financial planning field; and
Ethics – Renew an agreement to be bound by the Standards of Professional Conduct. The Standards prominently require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services at a fiduciary standard of care. This means CFP® professionals must provide financial planning services in the best interests of their clients.
CFP® professionals who fail to comply with the above standards and requirements may be subject to CFP Board’s enforcement process, which could result in suspension or permanent revocation of their CFP® certification.
An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections, and appeals. “Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and “Agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer at the IRS. Only Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and CPAs may represent taxpayers before the IRS. The Enrolled Agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses, Congress acted to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the U.S. Treasury Department.
The license is earned in one of two ways, by passing a comprehensive examination which covers all aspects of the tax code, or having worked at the IRS for five years in a position which regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and its regulations. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.
Enrolled Agents advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. Enrolled Agents’ expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers audited by the IRS.
The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 allow federally authorized practitioners (those bound by the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230 regulations) a limited client privilege. This privilege allows confidentiality between the taxpayer and the Enrolled Agent under certain conditions. The privilege applies to situations in which the taxpayer is being represented in cases involving audits and collection matters. It is not applicable to the preparation and filing of a tax return. This privilege does not apply to state tax matters, although a number of states have an accountant-client privilege.
In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires Enrolled Agents to complete 72 hours of continuing professional education, reported every three years, to maintain their Enrolled Agent status. Because of the knowledge necessary to become an Enrolled Agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are only about 46,000 practicing Enrolled Agents.
Only Enrolled Agents are required to demonstrate to the IRS their competence in matters of taxation before they may represent a taxpayer before the IRS. Unlike attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all Enrolled Agents specialize in taxation. Enrolled Agents are the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to practice from the U.S. government (CPAs and attorneys are licensed by the states).
Enrolled Agents are required to abide by the provisions of the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230, which provides the regulations governing the practice of Enrolled Agents before the IRS. NAEA members are also bound by a Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association.
The Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) designation focuses on the comprehensive financial planning process as an organized way to collect and analyze information on a client's total financial situation; to identify and establish specific financial goals; and to formulate, implement, and monitor a comprehensive plan to achieve those goals. The ChFC® program provides in-depth knowledge of the skills needed to perform comprehensive financial planning for their clients and must meet certain experience and ethics requirements.
The Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) designation is the oldest, most-respected designation in the financial services arena; it represents the pinnacle in insurance expertise. Eight rigorous courses cover such subjects as life insurance, planning for business owners and professionals, estate planning, investments, law, health insurance and more. By combining these two nationally recognized, advanced designations, you will be receiving highly specialized advice that is exclusively designed for your situation.
Both of these designations were awarded by The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Click here to get more information on the college.
Paramount Investment Advisors, Inc. is a fee only, Registered Investment Advisory firm providing comprehensive wealth management including financial planning, investment management, tax planning, estate planning, cash flow management, risk management, education planning and retirement planning. We are currently serving the Suwanee, Buford, Sugar Hill, Duluth, Johns Creek, Cumming, Alpharetta, Roswell, and surrounding cities in North Atlanta out of our Suwanee Georgia office. We also work with clients virtually by using technology to our advantage.