FP Canada highlighted its achievements in its latest annual report, released on Tuesday.
The report looks back on the first full fiscal year (ended March 31, 2020) of FP Canada operations following the organization’s launch in April 2019. Previously, FP Canada was known as the Financial Planning Standards Council.
Highlights include the redesign of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) program into a “two-stream certification framework” that now includes the Qualified Associate Financial Planner (QAFP) certification. Both certifications will have post-secondary education requirements as of April 2022.
Record numbers of CFP, QAFP candidates
In a release, FP Canada said “record numbers of candidates” wrote certification exams in the past fiscal year.
There were more than 3,000 candidates who took either the CFP and QAFP exams, “up more than 50% from the previous year.”
Men comprised 69% of CFP candidates and 57% of QAFP candidates. Most exam writers were in Ontario for both exams (52% for CFP and 47% for QAFP), followed by B.C. (20% for both exams) and Alberta (14% for CFP and 17% for QAFP).
Most CFP exam writers were 45 to 54 (32%), while most QAFP exam writers were 35 to 44 (36%).
Title regulation a “key priority”
Regarding public policy, FP Canada noted that progress on title regulation in Ontario and Saskatchewan is encouraging because the issue is a “key priority.”
Legislation passed in both provinces — in May 2019 in Ontario and July 2020 in Saskatchewan — to regulate the use of the “financial planner” title is part of “championing better financial wellness for Canadians,” FP Canada said.
These developments have made for “a monumental year for FP Canada and for professional financial planning in Canada,” FP Canada president and CEO Cary List said in a statement.
Sixty-four complaints were received by FP Canada in the past fiscal year, with the majority (40) initiated internally by the FP Canada Standards Council.
Thirty-seven complaints were referred to the Conduct Review Panel, while 11 were referred to hearing panels. Twelve disciplinary hearings were held during the fiscal year.
With regard to penalty decisions, there were fewer certification suspensions (18%, down from 50%) and letters of admonishment (27%, down from 33%) compared to a year ago, the report said. However, there were significantly more prohibitions against recertification or renewal — 55%, up from 17%.
According to the FP Canada Standards Council 2019 report, also released Tuesday, 32% of all complaints received and investigated by FP Canada’s conduct panel were referred to hearing panels. The remaining 68% were either closed or closed with guidance, which addressed issues such as failure to address clients’ best interests and make suitable recommendations.
That report added that the prohibitions ordered were related to conflict of interest and, in one case, criminal assault charges.
FP Canada reported increased revenue and expenses over the past fiscal year.
Revenue was $12.9 million, up from $9.9 million a year earlier, with the increase coming mainly from exam, certification and program fees.
The growth in expenses, from $9.8 million to $11 million (both figures include amortization), was also related to exam and program increases.
FP Canada’s net assets for the 2019/20 year were $5.6 million, up from $4.1 million a year earlier.
The report said FP Canada “is in a financially sound position.”