The Financial Planning Association of Australia The Financial Planning Association of Australia

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional numbers grow globally in 2021


The number of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®) professionals worldwide has grown to 203,312 (as at 31 December 2021), an increase of 5.5 per cent during the course of the year.

This is double the rate of 2020 (2.5 per cent) and is also the first time the number of CFP professionals has surpassed 200,000.

Australia was the first country outside the USA to offer the CFP designation, and the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) is the only certification body for the CFP mark in Australia. During 2021, the FPA welcomed 164 new CFP professionals, making a total of 4,966 CFP professionals in Australia.

Sarah Abood, CEO of the FPA, said the CFP certification is the global standard of excellence for financial planners, meeting extensive training and experience requirements, and committing to the highest ethical standards.

“CFP certification reflects a commitment to excellence in financial planning.

“It is particularly pleasing to see that financial planners continue to recognise the value of the CFP certification and dedicate themselves to education excellence, despite the challenges they have been facing over the past few years.

“We have proudly welcomed 164 new CFP professionals in 2021 which is a very positive sign for our profession.  Overall, CFP professional numbers in Australia have dropped slightly in the past year, but this number has only fallen by four per cent compared to 11 per cent drop in financial planners broadly across the profession,” says Ms Abood

“CFP professionals have been growing proportionally and now make up 55 per cent of our practitioner members.”

The CFP Certification Program is now embedded into the Master of Financial Planning courses offered by four universities across Australia, allowing students to complete both a qualification and a designation simultaneously.

“We have also welcomed a number of new students as part of the Professional Year (PY) program where entrants are using the CFP Certification Program to meet their compulsory education requirements for the PY,” says Ms Abood.

“It is encouraging to see a growing number of members undertaking the CFP Certification Program, as it highlights the ongoing professionalism of financial planning in Australia as well as a commitment to education standards.”

The CFP Certification Program globally is managed by the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) and currently runs in 27 countries.

“We’re pleased to report that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, momentum in the global growth of CFP professionals remains strong, and is increasing,” says FPSB CEO Noel Maye.

“Last year, the number of CFP professionals reached the highest ever, with growth from emerging, developing and mature markets demonstrating the broad appeal of financial planning and CFP certification worldwide.

“Doubling the number of CFP professionals globally since FPSB’s creation in 2004 and increasing the number of CFP professionals ten-fold since CFP certification first went international in 1990 is a tremendous accomplishment,” added Maye.

FPSB manages, develops and operates certification, education and related programs to benefit the global community by establishing, upholding and promoting worldwide professional standards in financial planning.