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

Planner professionalism increases with uptake of international qualification

Some 5,600 of the FPA’s 12,000 members already have the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®) designation.

FPA CEO, Mark Rantall, said:

“As with any qualification, the greater the demand for it and the more numbers going through, the higher the entry requirements and pass rates, pushing up the value and standard of the accreditation.”

New stringent entry requirements for undertaking the CFP introduced over recent years include members requiring a degree, advanced diploma, or diploma in Financial Services to enter the program. A planner must also have worked within the industry for three years before he or she is eligible to apply for the designation, and course participants must pass a comprehensive exam.

“This is enormously encouraging for the industry at large because we now have a clear, internationally recognised benchmark standard which has been much needed in our profession,” said Mr Rantall.

The FPA is the only Australian organisation with the license to issue the CFP qualification. It is therefore estimated that around 8,000 non-FPA member planners are operating without it.

“For us at the FPA it is a line in the sand issue. Moves had to be made to lift planners’ standing and to assure clients that they can trust the advice and ethics of their planner. The natural place to go with this is with the most recognised international qualification – and that is the CFP designation,” he said. “Increasing recognition of what the qualification means and its increased uptake is going to have a significant benefit for all concerned – for the profession, the financial planners who hold the designation and our clients.”

Sydney CFP graduate, Megan Aikman of NAB Financial Planning, said:

“I found the course content extremely relevant with practical examples that helped to expand and consolidate on my technical knowledge. The course material was very comprehensive and the webinars offered practical guidance on how to approach the assignment and the exam.

“As the CFP designation indicates a high standard of competence and ethical practice, I believe to assist in building the profile of the Financial Planning profession it is important for all advisers to becomes CFP accredited so I was extremely pleased that all the hours of study and experience have paid off. I feel confident the CFP accreditation will help me to advance in my chosen career path.

Queensland CFP graduate, Lance Cheung of Parinity Pty Ltd, said:

“With the current evolution of the financial planning profession, the importance of education and professionalism has never been so relevant. As such undertaking the CFP program through the FPA was a smart decision for me and my business. I would encourage all financial planning professionals to join the FPA and aspire to achieve this internationally recognized qualification”

The active promotion of the CFP qualification and its association with members of the peak national planner body form an integral part of the FPA’s ongoing campaign to lift the profile and reputation of the profession.

In addition to its increasingly stringent entry requirements, the CFP course content is regularly reviewed to ensure it aligns with advances in the FPA’s professional standards. This is part of the continuing move to position financial planning as a universally respected profession, in line with accounting and other professions. More recently, this included revising the ethics module in the CFP course to make sure it is in line with the FPA’s Code of Practice.

Following the end of the most recent semester in June, another 100 FPA members will have completed the CFP Certification program. They can then apply for the CFP designation through the FPA.