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

New education standards raise the bar for financial planning profession

The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) strongly supports moves by Australia’s largest financial planning groups to lift the education standards of financial planning professionals, calling it a positive step in the right direction for the profession and its clients.

Mark Rantall, CEO of the FPA, said: “Australians have the right to know that when they look for financial advice, they can trust the person they work with. Part of that trust lies in the qualifications and experience of the financial planner.

“Recent announcements by large financial planning businesses to increase education levels reflect a major change for the profession and for its clients. These changes also take us closer to having a self-regulating profession.

“We want Australians to feel empowered and realise the benefits of trusted financial advice. This is why it is important for them to know that their financial planner is a member of a professional association, and is appropriately qualified.”

According to Mr Rantall, Australians can view the Financial Planning Association’s CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation as a proxy for trust. The large financial planning businesses who have undertaken to raise standards will use the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation as part of the qualifications they will require their financial planners to have.

“The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation is one way Australians can know they’re dealing with the best – a financial planner who has the right education, who is bound by a code of ethics and who is committed to their clients’ best interests.”

The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation is only available to financial planners with a degree covering areas such as finance, superannuation, estate planning, insurance, financial planning, taxation, investment and commercial law. It then requires a further two-three years to complete the certification. The financial planner must have three years’ experience to qualify and then must complete 40 hours of ongoing professional development each year. This requirement is subject to audits by the Financial Planning Association.

Mr Rantall said the FPA is hopeful the financial planning profession will continue to take the necessary steps to continue to raise the bar in terms of education and self-regulation. He pointed to a fully transparent, public register of financial planners as another necessary move to ensure consumers have access to the right information to make a truly informed decision when choosing a financial planner.

“We strongly support a financial planner register and see this move as critical to being a transparent and trusted profession, alongside the requirement that financial planners operate as a member of a professional association under an ASIC and the Tax Practitioners approved code.

“The FPA, through its professional members, stands with Australians for a better financial future. We have more work to do with our members, financial planning groups, regulators, government and industry bodies to ensure we live up to the expectations of our profession and its clients.

“Helping people make decisions about their financial future is a critical job and we are committed to ensuring we get this right,” Mr Rantall concluded.