Have you thought about becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in Canada?
Or have you ever wondered just what being a CFP is all about?
If you answered yes to either question, here is some information for you.
What is a CFP?
If you know little about life as a CFP, check out these three brochures from the Financial Planning Standards Council. One is entitled “Career Shopping,” another is a “Professional Competency Profile,” and the third is a “Profile of the Profession.”
They have some good information and can explain the profession much better than I can.
There is a New CFP Certification Process
For those of you that know about the profession, be please aware that the certification requirements are changing effective July 1, 2010.
The main changes are:
A two-staged examination process (Financial Planning Examination Level 1 and Level 2 – FPE1 and FPE2) will replace the single six-hour CFP Examination.
All candidates will be required to successfully complete an FPSC-approved Capstone Course, in order to be eligible to write FPE2. The Capstone Course is required in addition to successful completion of FPSC- approved Core Curriculum education required to be eligible for FPE1.
All candidates will be required to complete three years of qualifying financial planning work experience (an increase from the pre-July 1, 2010 requirement of two years). One year of qualifying financial planning work experience must be completed prior to writing FPE2.
Is a CFP Certification Worth Pursuing?
I possess a CFP designation, so I believe there is some value in the certification.
A few factors make this an attractive field in which to work.
One, there is an increasing complexity in investing and in dealing with the related taxes. More and more, individuals need professional guidance in their money management.
Two, as the population ages, there is an greater interest by individuals in planning for their retirement. This is compounded by the increased use of tax effective savings accounts. In Canada, RRSPs and TFSAs; in the US, IRAs; in the UK, ISAs; and so on.
Three, more companies now provide financial planning as part of their overall service package. Banks, brokerage houses, insurance companies, etc. are hiring more staff to assist clients in their planning needs. A CFP designation is an asset in getting hired.
Four, while more companies are adding planners, it is also a good business to run on your own or in partnership. Start-up costs are relatively low and there are few other barriers to entry.
Because of these factors, there is an increasing number of people becoming CFPs. These range from those with high school educations all the way up to professionals in related industries.
I think that the more technical skills you have, the better the chances for success.
If you plan to become a CFP, consider augmenting the certification with in-depth investment, insurance, estate planning, or personal taxation knowledge. Perhaps not everything, but develop an expertise in one or more specific areas.
You could also consider obtaining a professional designation that complements the CFP designation. This will strengthen your credentials and make you an attractive option when compared to CFPs without advanced knowledge.