How to become a financial planner
Jay Mallari and his wife immigrated to Canada in 2012, and like many other new Canadians, he wanted to expand his horizons in his adopted home. With a background in finance in his native Philippines and a degree in business, he found a job at Sun Life Financial, one of Canada’s largest insurance and financial services companies. But he also saw a need for people to help new immigrants navigate the Canadian financial world and plan for their futures.
“I wanted to help people in the same boat as we had been in,” Mallari says. “But I had no idea how to incorporate every-thing involved in real financial planning. That’s when I decided to educate myself.”
He earned his Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ designation, and today he is president of Cambria Financial Solutions, a financial advisory firm in Burnaby, B.C., that serves a diverse group of about 3,000 clients, including business owners, young professionals and, of course, new Canadians.
Since FP Canada launched QAFP™ certification in 2020, it has become an increasingly popular way to start a career in financial planning, and for some, it’s a stepping stone to the organization’s Certified Financial Planner® designation. There are now nearly 2,000 QAFP professionals in Canada, each armed with the skills, knowledge and ethical standards to understand their clients’ everyday financial planning needs and to offer expert advice tailored to their unique circumstances.
“Financial planners with highly regarded credentials, such as FP Canada's Certified Financial Planner® certification and Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ certification, have a strong competitive advantage”
To earn the QAFP designation, candidates must take both technical and professional courses, some of which may be done as part of a diploma or degree program, complete at least a year of qualifying work experience and pass a national exam.
CFP® designation candidates must have a degree from an accredited post-secondary institution – in any discipline, although a focus on business or finance is helpful. There’s extensive coursework, a required three years of work experience and an exam.
The educational process doesn’t end with certification. Both QAFP and CFP professionals must commit to ongoing professional development to maintain their credentials.
Whether you choose QAFP certification or CFP certification, a career in financial planning goes far beyond crunching numbers. “It is a relationship business,” Mallari says. “I spend most of my day in front of clients, getting to know their priorities and goals when it comes to their financial well-being.”