Member consultation: Review of the FPA Code

The FPA Code of Professional Practice (Code) brings together a comprehensive set of ethical principles, practice standards and conduct rules which FPA practitioner members are bound by. The FPA is currently undertaking a review of the Code.

Given the substantial change in the regulatory and professional landscape of financial planning, it is timely for the FPA to conduct a review of the Code so it continues to meet the objectives of the FPA and its members in raising professional standards.  

This is also an opportunity to streamline the Code so it clearly sets out the standards and expectations of FPA members in an easy-to-understand format. 

Proposed amendments to the Code have been drafted and approved by the FPA Board for wider consultation. We are now seeking feedback from FPA members and relevant stakeholders.

Share your feedback

We are seeking member views on the proposed changes to the Code from 7 February – 4 March 2022. You can respond to the member consultation in the following ways:

  • Contribute to the discussion on FPA Community
  • Email feedback to: [email protected]. Please indicate your membership category in the email (CFP® Professional, Financial Planner AFP®, Allied Professional, etc)
  • Attend a live focus group on discussion on Thursday 3 March via video teleconference. Up to 1.45 CPD hours will be available for those who complete the pre-reading and the multiple choice assessment.
    • You will participate in discussion with 5-8 members guided by a set of questions provided on the current and proposed Code led by a moderator.

Register for Thursday 3 Mar

Further background

The FPA Board seeks to achieve a Code that is:

 Objectives of the Code review

  • More accessible for members and their clients
  • Shorter
  • Applicable to all categories of membership (rather than just practitioners)
  • In alignment with Australian regulations and FPSB requirements 
  • Enforceable so it continues to raise standards within the profession.

Changing the FPA Code structure

The current FPA Code published in 2013 contains:

  • 78 rules of professional conduct
  • 8 ethical principles
  • 21 practice standards
  • 36 pages
  • 22,400 words

There is a clear opportunity to make the FPA Code more accessible by making it shorter, while still maintaining the integrity of the Code. The FPA will also consider accompanying best practice guidance as needed to provide further detail and benchmark examples in certain areas related to the Code.

Why have a Code?

The FPA originated in the 1980s as an association of financial services professionals seeking to raise standards within financial planning and differentiate themselves from peers who may not have placed the same emphasis on quality and client interest. 

One of the means by which the FPA sought to achieve this was by joining the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB), the global standards-setting body for financial planning and the owner of the CFP® marks outside the United States. 

The CFP designation remains central to the FPA’s offering, with over 5,000 CFP professional members in Australia and a steady stream of students undertaking the CFP Certification Program.  In order to offer the CFP designation, it is necessary for the FPA to remain a member of the FPSB and it is a requirement of FPSB membership that the FPA retains a Code of Professional Practice and ensures that its members abide by this. 

Further, belonging to a professional body that retains a Code of Professional Practice provides a standard by which a practitioner can gauge the appropriateness of their actions, navigate situations where it may not be clear how they should proceed and demonstrates to peers and clients that they are prepared to be held accountable against that standard.

Finally, it is a standard practice of professional bodies across industries to set out a Code of Professional Conduct both within Australia and around the world, and retaining a Code allows the FPA to remain in line with this.