Not All Planners Are Created Equal

Whether you’re paying off debt, buying a home, saving for your children’s education or planning for retirement—or all of these at once—managing your money is a challenging task.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to something as important as your finances. But when so many pieces of your financial life are at stake, whom should you trust?

Why your choice of financial planner matters

In most Canadian provinces, it’s a case of buyer beware. There’s no legislated standard in place for financial planners or for those who offer financial planning services—even though almost half of Canadians think there is. In fact, in every province except Quebec, people may call themselves financial planners without having any credentials or qualifications whatsoever.

Your planner has the potential to directly affect your financial well-being, today and for many years in the future. But all planners—and all certifications—are not created equal.

Why is the Certified Financial Planner® certification recognized worldwide for representing the highest professional standards in financial planning?

What sets CFP professionals apart 

Candidates for CFP certification undergo a rigorous process to demonstrate that they have the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities and ethics to provide you with professional financial planning services. Earning the CFP designation takes a minimum of two years, even for someone already working in the financial services industry. The process includes the following important requirements:

  1. Education: CFP professionals develop their theoretical and practical knowledge by completing two comprehensive education programs consisting of curriculum that’s been approved by FP Canada. Among other requirements, candidates complete a comprehensive financial plan to demonstrate their ability to identify and resolve complex, integrated financial planning issues.
  2. Examination: CFP certification candidates pass two intensive exams that test their ability to apply knowledge to real-life situations, including financial management, investment planning, insurance and risk management, tax planning, retirement planning and estate planning. The exams are very challenging—about one-third of candidates are typically unsuccessful.
  3. Experience: Before qualifying for CFP certification, candidates have honed their practical knowledge by completing a minimum of three years of relevant hands-on financial planning work experience, ensuring that they have practical as well as theoretical expertise.
  4. Ethics: CFP professionals are held to the highest ethical standards. A CFP professional has a written obligation to put their clients’ interests first and is accountable to FP Canada to abide by a code of ethics, practice standards, and the rules and regulations of a professional body.

Originally published 2019 FSCP