The new year is a time for resolutions, with many advisers making promises about what they want to achieve in the coming 12 months. Since this time last year, we have had a Brexit referendum, an increased focus on globalisation and, much closer to home, a simplified pathway to becoming an accredited certified financial planner professional.
The designation is held by 153,000 individuals worldwide, including India, China and the US. In the UK, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment is the sole awarding body.
This time last year the route to CFP was quite complex, as it was only possible to meet the requirements by taking examinations from a combination of professional institutes.
Since the merger of the Institute of Financial Planning and the CISI it is now possible to become a CFP professional by taking only three exams and one assessment, rather than up to seven exams, as was the case before.
The three exams are the modules that make up the Investment Advice Diploma – Financial Planning & Advice. This meets all the education requirements necessary to enter for the CFP assessment.
The recommended study time for these three papers is up to 460 hours, so they should not be entered upon lightly.
The three exams comprise:
a: Regulation and integrity.
b: Investment risk and taxation.
c: Financial planning and advice.
Successful completion of these exams also meets the FCA standards to register as an RDR-compliant, authorised adviser and eminently employable.
The assessment process requires the submission of a written financial plan based upon a case study. Candidates have 12 weeks from the date of receipt of their case study material to submit their financial plan. Feedback on the case study will be provided within eight weeks.
Once the assessment is passed, the candidate needs to show evidence of one to three years’ experience in the profession and to sign up to the code of ethics. The CFP certification is renewed annually and individuals are required to become members of the CISI.
Individuals who have qualified as a CFP professional can, after one year, apply for the Chartered Wealth Manager designation also offered by us.
For those individuals who already hold an RDR-compliant qualification from elsewhere, all that is required is to take and pass the Financial Planning and Advice Paper, followed by the CFP assessment.
For those who are part-qualified, it is possible to apply for exemptions from the other two papers. For example, an individual who has passed RO2 and RO3 with the Chartered Insurance Institute can request an exemption for the Investment Risk and Taxation paper.
Three exams and an assessment to an international financial planning designation. What is not to like?
Campbell Edgar is head of financial planning at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment