FPSC raises the bar

By Scot Blythe | December 2, 2008 | Last updated on December 2, 2008
2 min read

New rules for certified financial planner candidates will see the traditional exam split in two. The new exams, to come into effect in July 2010, are part of a general updating of the CFP curriculum by the Financial Planners Standards Council.

John Wickett, the FPSC’s senior vice-president for standards and certification, says the move stems from a 2006 review of the CFP competency profile. “We followed that up with basically a gap analysis to see where we wanted to make some changes and some enhancements to our CFP certification program.”

Future candidates will have four chances to sit the examinations, with a time limit of 12 years. The first exam will run four hours and assess the progress of candidates. Wickett says it’s similar to the current CFP exam. “It will be focused on the skills and competencies a candidate acquires earlier in their training; (the exams) will focus on collecting information from clients and some basic analysis to really reflect where a student is on their path to becoming a full financial planner.”

The second will run six hours and can be written within six months of the first. “It will focus on integration and higher-level synthesis,” he says.

Candidates will also have to complete a capstone course before they can proceed to the second exam, called a professional competence exam. The capstone course involves completing a financial plan.

“We realized that the existing education program didn’t necessarily have a course to force candidates to bring everything together, to take all the elements of financial planning and really integrate (information),” Wickett says.

In addition, candidates will now need three years of experience in financial planning, up from the previous requirement of two years.

As well, candidates must subscribe to the FPSC’s code of ethics even before they receive their CFP, as long as they are seeking accreditation.


Scot Blythe