About the Financial Planning Body of Knowledge

Version 1.4.0, Updated 20200331

The Financial Planning Body of Knowledge (FP-BoK)—the first of its kind internationally—builds on the Canadian Financial Planning Definitions, Standards & Competencies to define the scope and holistic nature of financial planning.

The FP-BoK clearly distinguishes the knowledge expectations of QAFP professionals and CFP professionals in all financial planning areas.

The FP-BoK provides the underpinning for the FP Canada Standards Council Competency Profile—it is essential to the demonstration of competence in the fundamental financial planning practices, financial planning areas, and professional skills.



The FP-BoK is intended to serve as a resource to a number of groups. Examples of potential uses include:


Educators of future financial planning professionals

To develop and deliver educational content that prepares the next generation of financial planners

Students contemplating entering the profession or currently on the path to FP Canada certification

To understand the distinct nature of financial planning, as defined by the expectations of QAFP professionals and CFP professionals, when compared to other disciplines

Industry firms recruiting financial planning professionals

To define the expectations of QAFP professionals and CFP professionals in meeting the broad, holistic financial planning needs of clients

Practicing QAFP professionals and CFP professionals

To assist in maintaining currency of knowledge and employer expectation



Development Process

The FP-BoK was developed by over 80 practicing CFP professionals from across Canada and a variety of subject matter specialists in the various topic areas. As practitioners and experts in the technical knowledge topics, the volunteers developed technical knowledge statements and illustrative case studies that reflect the level of knowledge required for effective financial planning practice.

The rigorous review process involved input by the following key groups to ensure its relevance, clarity, comprehensiveness, and currency:

  • CFP professionals with in-depth experience providing financial planning advice to small business owners reviewed each topic area to help ensure the inclusion of appropriate technical knowledge.
  • Educators provided feedback on the depth, breadth, and clarity of the FP-BoK and practicality of the case studies for teaching purposes. 
  • A Professional Practice Working Group of CFP professionals and educators provided oversight and approval of the FP-BoK through an extensive review of the technical knowledge statements and case studies.

The FP-BoK will change as the financial planning profession evolves. The currency of the FP-BoK will be maintained with input from CFP professionals.

FP Canada sincerely thanks the many pioneers who contributed to this initial publication.


Knowledge Expectations

While both QAFP professionals and CFP professionals draw from the same Body of Knowledge, the knowledge expectations of CFP professionals are broader, given that they must provide objective financial planning advice at the highest level of complexity required of the profession. Specifically, CFP professionals are expected to have a greater depth of knowledge in areas including registered retirement plans, registered education, and disability plans, taxation, insurance, and estate planning and legal aspects.

It is the complexity of the client situation that influences the depth of technical knowledge required for each designation. Since CFP professionals are expected to capably provide financial planning advice at higher levels of complexity, they require knowledge that goes above and beyond the expectations of QAFP professionals.

The FP-BoK sets the minimum expectation for the level of knowledge required of QAFP professionals and CFP professionals, but it is not intended to limit the scope of practice of any individual. QAFP professionals and CFP professionals may possess greater levels of knowledge based on their backgrounds and experience.

As set out in the Code of Ethics, financial planning professionals must seek the counsel of qualified individuals and/or refer clients to such parties when they do not possess the appropriate knowledge or are not sufficiently competent in any particular area or scenario.

The following chart provides an overview of the areas where QAFP professionals and CFP professionals are expected to have a greater depth of knowledge:

Financial Planning Profession and Financial Services Industry Regulation
Financial Planning ProfessionX 
Securities and Mutual Fund RegulationX 
Insurance RegulationX 
Financial Services Industry OversightX 
Consumer ProtectionX 
Financial Analysis
Time Value of MoneyX
Personal Financial StatementsX 
Financial Statements for an OrganizationX 
Credit and Debt
Foundations of CreditX
Types of CreditX 
Terms of CreditX 
Installment Credit FacilitiesX 
Revolving Credit FacilitiesX 
Business Credit FacilitiesX 
Credit AdjudicationX 
Debt RepaymentX 
Registered Retirement Plans
Foundations of RetirementX
Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP)X 
Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)X 
Foundations of Pension PlansX 
Defined Benefit (DB) Pension PlansX 
Defined Contribution (DC) Pension PlansX 
Pension Buyback and Commutation  X
Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPP) X 
Deferred Profit Sharing Plans (DPSP) X 
Specified Pension Plan (SPP) X 
Locked-In Retirement Savings VehiclesX 
Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)X 
Locked-In Retirement Income VehiclesX 
Eligible Funeral Arrangements (EFA)X 
Options upon the Death of Parties to Registered Retirement Plans X
Registered Retirement Plans for Owners and Key Employees of a Business X
Government Benefit Plans 
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Retirement PensionX 
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Post-Retirement BenefitsX 
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Survivor BenefitsX 
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability BenefitsX 
Old Age Security (OAS) PensionX 
Old Age Security (OAS) Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)X 
Old Age Security (OAS) Allowance (ALW) and Survivor Allowance (ALWS)X 
 Canada Child Benefit (CCB)X 
Child Disability Benefit (CDB)X 
Employment Insurance (EI) Regular BenefitsX 
Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness BenefitsX 
Employment Insurance (EI) Maternity and Parental BenefitsX 
Employment Insurance (EI) Compassionate Care BenefitsX 
Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits for Parents of Critically Ill ChildrenX 
Employment Insurance (EI) Special Benefits for Self-Employed Individuals X
Workers' Compensation ProgramsX 
Income Assistance ProgramsX 
Foreign PensionsX 
Registered Education and Disability Plans
Foundations of EducationX 
Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)X 
Foundations of DisabilitiesX 
Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)X 
Options upon the Death of Parties to Registered Education and Disability Plans X
Microeconomics X 
Macroeconomics X 
Foundations of InvestmentsX 
Investment MarketplaceX 
Investment Objectives and ConstraintsX 
Investment Return and RiskX 
Asset ClassesX 
Asset AllocationX 
Investment StructuresX 
Investment StylesX 
Investment AccountsX 
Investment Buying and Selling TechniquesX 
Leveraged InvestingX 
Foundations of TaxX 
Relationships under Income TaxX 
Income Tax Assessment Rules for IndividualsX 
Income Tax Assessment Rules for Corporations  X
Income Tax Assessment Rules for Trusts
Basic Income for Tax PurposesX 
Other Income for Tax Purposes X
Income Received by Self-Employed Business Owners X
Tax Deductions and Tax Credits for IndividualsX 
Tax Deductions for Self-Employed Business Owners X
Income AttributionX 
Foundations of Income Splitting for IndividualsX 
Income Splitting for Investors X
Income Splitting for Self-Employed Business Owners X
Tax Shelters X
United States Taxation X
Tax Consequences at Death X
Trusts X
Estate Freezes X
Taxation of Business Ownership Structures X
Foundations of Law X 
Personal Property Ownership X 
Foundations of Family LawX 
Impacts of Relationship Breakdown
Foundations of Estate LawX 
Estate Succession X
Powers of AttorneyX 
Trust Law X
Foundations of Business Ownership StructuresX 
Business Ownership Structures X
Contracts X
Foundations of Risk and InsuranceX 
Property and Casualty InsuranceX 
Health Care InsuranceX 
Disability InsuranceX 
Critical Illness Insurance X
Long-Term Care Insurance X
Foundations of Life InsuranceX 
Advanced Uses of Life Insurance X
Creditor Insurance X 
Insurance for Corporations X
Taxation of Insurance X
Human Behaviour
Decision-Making and BehaviourX