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What the CFP® Certification Marks mean The CFP Marks identify practitioners who are dedicated to a high level of professionalism in the delivery of personal financial advice to clients. Anyone can call themselves a ‘financial planner’ but only those who fulfil initial and ongoing certification requirements can use the CFP Certification Marks, and proudly display the symbol of excellence in financial planning.

Australia was the first country outside the US to be able to license the CFP Certification Program, and Australia continues as a world leader in the way we deliver the CFP Certification Program.


We have the fifth largest number of CFP professionals, behind the U.S, Japan, Canada and China. As the first international licensee, the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) currently has over 5,400 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professionals (Oct 2011).

• They identify those that have met and maintain the standards. Australian CFP certificants are recognised as the most professional in the world. Consumers can consult a CFP professional knowing that they are competent, ethical and experienced financial planners who follow a well-defined process that puts the clients’ interests and needs first when providing financial planning advice.

Rapid worldwide growth Being an Australian CFP professional means you can take great pride in being part of a strong global profession. Rigorous requirements for the award of CFP certification have meant the CFP Marks have quickly become financial planning’s highest standard worldwide. In 1973 there was one licensing authority to award CFP certification, and only 42 CFP professionals. In 2011, there are now 24 Territory FPSB members that are able to award CFP certification. These represent 134,000 CFP professionals around the world, at December 2010.

Setting a global standard At a global level outside of the U.S, Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) owns and manages the CFP Certification Program which was established in 1990. FPSB is a non-profit association that manages, develops and operates certification, education and related programs for financial planning organisations. Australia actively participates in the FPSB community at a Board and Council level, and through its various committees. Only the premier financial planning organisation in each country or region is able to administer this professional financial planning certification program. FPSB’s mission is to benefit and protect the global community by establishing, upholding and promoting worldwide professional standards in personal financial planning. Its commitment to excellence is represented by the CFP Marks.

The advantages of this global approach are two-fold: • A uniform approach for the four ‘Es’ which underpin CFP Certification: Ethics, Education, Examination and Experience • Cross-border reciprocity among affiliates, e.g. between Australia and New Zealand; and between Hong Kong, mainland China and Chinese Taipei.

Increasing consumer awareness All FPSB members work to increase awareness of the value of the personal financial planning process and of CFP certification. The FPA has conducted CFP Marks brand awareness campaigns and will continue to do so to ensure consumers understand and value the CFP Marks. Independent research commissioned by the U.S-based Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in September 2011, found that 75% of U.S. CFP professionals who responded to the survey strongly agree that CFP certification contributes directly to their own professional success. Other key findings include: 91% would recommend CFP certification to other financial professionals and CFP professionals expect to hold their certification for 19 years, up from 15 years in 2008. All CFP professionals are also given an online marketing kit to enable their own promotion of the Marks. They are also eligible to be listed as a CFP professional on the ‘Find-a-Planner’ section of our consumer website.

Certification - the four ‘Es’ As the certification body in Australia, the Financial Planning Association requires all candidates for CFP certification to satisfy rigorous admission standards that include ethics, education, examination and experience. These standards are known as the four ‘Es” and help to assure the public that those who have been authorised to use the CFP Certification Mark have met stringent professional standards and have agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competance, fairness, diligence, professionalism, confidentiality and compliance. Most importantly, the CFP Certification Program is a global professional designation. This means that students of the program will cover a broad range of knowledge and technical areas that go well beyond legal and regulatory requirements, covering more than any other program in the marketplace. This is important because the CFP professional designation is far more than a license to provide financial advice, it is a statement of professionalism that identifies a certificant as having met a globally recognised gold standard. Someone that clients can trust.


On achieving CFP certification and upgrading your FPA membership to CFP practitioner status, you are entitled to use the CFP Marks on your stationery, website and email to identify your CFP practitioner status for as long as you maintain certification. Visit for full details on how to use the CFP Marks.

The four ‘Es’



The first step to CFP certification requires candidates to belong to the profession and agree to abide by a Code of Ethics that defines their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. They must disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their professional or business conduct and agree to act fairly, diligently and with integrity, offering clients professional services that are objective and based on clients’ needs.



Candidates must successfully complete an advanced education program consisting of: FPA Professionalism

Ethics, Professionalism and Professional Behaviour

Introduces the concept of ethics, morality and professionalism in the context of compliance with the FPA’s Code of Professional Practice, industry regulations and legislation. CFP2

Applied Strategies 1

Includes the identification of suitable structures, salary packaging, debt management and risk management strategies.


Applied Strategies 2

Discusses the specific issues relating to clients leaving the workforce, pension and benefit strategies and strategies for expatriate clients. CFP4

Investment Strategies

Concentrates on the development of investment strategies, which may be viewed as the final part of the adviser’s role. The unit includes strategic asset allocation, portfolio construction and managing investment risk.





The CFP Certification Assessment makes up the examination part of the certification program. This is a comprehensive assessment consisting of a financial plan case study, verification of the candidates communication skills by their supervisor, and a three-hour multiple choice examination. Candidates must have two years’ experience before attempting this unit.

Candidates for the CFP certification must have a minimum of three years’ experience in the personal financial planning process prior to being awarded CFP certification. This is to ensure they possess financial counselling skills in addition to personal financial planning knowledge.

Entry requirements 1. Current individual membership of the FPA. 2. An approved Bachelor degree or Masters degree in Financial Planning OR A Bachelor degree or Masters degree in another discipline plus either an approved vocational qualification such as the Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning or an approved Higher Education bridging program 3. In addition, you are required to have completed one year’s relevant experience prior to being able to enter the Program. To be awarded the CFP Certification following the completion of the program, you will need three years experience in providing financial planning advice, including one year’s experience as an Authorised Representative of an Australian Financial Services Licensee (AFSL), and a Bachelor or Masters degree must be completed.

Exemptions Candidates who have already completed post-graduate university programs may apply for exemptions from components of CFP 2-4. A number of universities have already sought automatic approval for exemptions. Completion of the CFP Certification Program is recognised by a number of universities for advanced standing in post-graduate and Masters programs. Check with your institution and the FPA for more information on exemptions.

Maintaining certification In order to continue using the CFP Marks, CFP professionals are required to renew their CFP certification annually. The recertification requirement ensures CFP professionals have maintained their competence and commitment to ethical behaviour. To renew their CFP certification and remain current with developments in the financial planning profession, CFP professionals must complete a minimum of 120 points of Continuing Professional Development per triennium. In addition, they must report to the FPA any public, civil, criminal or disciplinary actions that may have been taken against them and re-affirm their adherence to the FPA Code of Professional Practice.

There are many recognised symbols of global excellence Now there is one for financial planning

The global symbol of excellence in financial planning

ABN 62 054 174 453 GPO Box 4285 Sydney NSW 2001

Members Consumers

1300 337 301 1300 626 393

Phone 02 9220 4500 Fax: 02 9220 4580

CFP 速, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and are certification marks owned ouside the U.S. by Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd (FPSB). Financial Planning Association of Australia Limited is the marks licensing authority for the CFP Marks in Australia, through agreement with FPSB.

Pathways to CFP Certification  
Pathways to CFP Certification  

The Global Symbol of Excellence in Financial Planning