As society faces technological disruption in all walks of life, the traditional role and value of all professions needs to be re-evaluated—including professional financial planning. Canadians have a greater need than ever for personalized financial planning advice as they navigate a world defined by ever-evolving technology and readily available information. Professional financial planners require new skills to meet the needs of all Canadians in this new era.
In light of this reality, FP Canada undertook a comprehensive review of its certification programs and requirements in late 2017 and early 2018. This review led to modifications in the curriculum and paths leading to certification, to create efficiencies for candidates and to enrich financial planners’ knowledge and skill through a new professional education program. This page details the key policies and timelines during the transition to the new programs and paths.
FP Canada is making changes to its certification programs:
Post-secondary education requirements for CFP certification and QAFP certification applicants will come into effect in 2022.
Learn more about post-secondary education requirements
In late 2019, the FP Canada Institute™ began offering Professional Education Programs. These e-learning programs help prospective and existing financial planners develop essential professional skills and gain a strong grasp of their ethical obligations. Students can apply their technical knowledge in practice, learn how to communicate important messages effectively, and understand the key psychological and behavioural factors that motivate clients.
On January 1, 2020, FP Canada launched the Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ designation. QAFP™ certification, which replaced FPSC Level 1® certification, is a new designation designed to demonstrate that a financial planner has the knowledge, skills, experience and ethics to provide holistic financial planning strategies and solutions for clients with less complex financial planning needs. Unlike the previous path to certification, the education requirements for QAFP certification are decoupled from the education requirements for Certified Financial Planner® certification.
In effect as of January 1, 2020, Candidates now have the choice to either pursue QAFP or CFP certification directly, or pursue QAFP certification first and continue their studies to complete CFP certification at a later date. A variety of paths to CFP certification are available to provide flexibility to candidates with relevant qualifications, including a QAFP-to-CFP Certification Bridge Program for QAFP certificants.
*Candidates wishing to maintain QAFP certification while pursuing CFP certification must complete IPE and CFP Professional Education Program by July 31, 2021.
Former FPSC Level 1 certificants who have let their certification lapse, and who did not reinstate before January 1, 2020, must (in addition to the usual reinstatement requirements) complete IPE and QAFP Professional Education Program to qualify for QAFP certification. Only FPSC Level 1 certificants in good standing on December 31, 2019 were eligible to automatically transition to QAFP certification.
Existing CFP professionals are not affected by the program changes.
There are no changes to the reinstatement requirements for CFP professionals.
A two-hour long self-study course, Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE) equips students with the requisite foundational knowledge of the ethical obligations owed by all professionals, and the specific application of these obligations to financial planning practice. IPE teaches students the distinction between integrity-based professional obligations and compliance-based obligations, with emphasis on the financial services landscape. The course introduces the specific professional obligations of QAFP professionals and CFP professionals, why they matter and what they mean in practical terms.
The QAFP Professional Education Program teaches students how to apply learning achieved through their Core Curriculum programs to the practice of financial planning.
While the technical content learned in Core Curriculum courses is essential as a basis for providing financial planning advice to clients, it is critical for financial planners to focus on the holistic nature of people’s lives, develop behavioural and relationship skills to effectively connect with clients, and above all, to always act in the client’s best interest maintaining the highest standards of professional responsibility.
The QAFP Professional Education Program uses real-world case scenarios to develop an understanding of, and competence in, Holistic Financial Planning, Human Behaviour, and Honesty and Ethics (3H) to help meet the everyday financial planning needs of all Canadians.
Students will be awarded the Certificate in 3H Financial Planning upon successful completion of the program, with easy-to-share digital credentials.
The CFP Professional Education Program teaches students how to apply learning achieved through their Core and Advanced Curriculum programs to the practice of financial planning.
While the technical content learned in Core and Advanced Curriculum courses is essential, it is critical for financial planners to focus on the holistic nature of people’s lives, develop behavioural and relationship skills to effectively connect with clients, and above all, to always act in the client’s best interest maintaining the highest standards of professional responsibility.
The CFP Professional Education Program uses real-world case scenarios to develop a deep understanding of, and competence in Holistic Financial Planning, Human Behaviour and Honesty and Ethics (3H) to help financial planners see their clients’ entire financial picture, no matter how complex.
Students will be awarded the Advanced Certificate in 3H Financial Planning™ upon successful completion of the program, with easy-to-share digital credentials.
To qualify to sit for examinations from November 2020 onward, candidates must meet the following requirements:
|Education||QAFP Certification||CFP Certification||Pre-Requisites||Key Information|
|FP Canada-Approved Core Curriculum Program (CC)*|
Education program that reflects the knowledge requirements detailed in the Financial Planning Body of Knowledge.
|☑||☑||None||Delivered by FP Canada-Approved education providers|
|Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE)||☑||☑||None||Delivered by the FP Canada Institute™ starting in Fall 2019|
|QAFP Professional Education Program (QAFP PEP)||☑|
|FP Canada-Approved Advanced Curriculum Program (AC)*|
Education program that reflects the knowledge requirements detailed in the Financial Planning Body of Knowledge for CFP professionals.
|☑||Delivered by FP Canada-Approved education providers|
|CFP Professional Education Program (CFP PEP)||☑||Delivered by the FP Canada Institute™|
Offered by FP Canada Institute, the QAFP-to-CFP Certification Bridge Program is designed for QAFP professionals who are interested in pursuing CFP Certification and have completed the QAFP Professional Education Program. This program focuses on the application of both the Core and Advanced Curriculum and both fundamental and advanced principles of human behaviour in client engagements that are both more and less complex.
The QAFP-to-CFP Certification Bridge Program uses real-world case scenarios for students to develop a deep understanding of, and competence in the integrated, holistic nature of financial planning practice.
Effective April 1, 2022, new applicants for QAFP certification must hold a post-secondary diploma from an accredited college or university.
Effective April 1, 2022, new applicants for CFP certification must hold a post-secondary degree from an accredited college or university.
The following grandfathering and transition provisions apply:
No exemptions will be granted after December 31, 2024.
Candidates must demonstrate one year of relevant work experience to qualify for QAFP certification. Work experience may be obtained before or after passing the QAFP exam.
Candidates must demonstrate three years of relevant work experience to qualify for CFP certification. Work experience may be obtained before or after passing the CFP exam.
Key transition dates are as follows:
January 1, 2020
|FPSC Level 1 certificants transition to QAFP designation.|
Automatic transition for all certificants in good standing on December 31, 2019.
Lapsed FPSC Level 1 certificants who have not reinstated by December 31, 2019 must complete Introduction to Professional Ethics and QAFP Professional Education Program to be eligible for QAFP certification.
New QAFP certificants must demonstrate one year of relevant work experience prior to certification.
Work experience may be gained pre- or post-examination.
Certificants who passed the Nov. 2019 FPSC Level 1 exam or automatically transition from FPSC Level 1 certification to QAFP certification on January 1, 2020 are exempt from this requirement.
CFP professionals must complete two hours of CE in the category of Professional Responsibility annually.
Increased from one hour annually.
No change to total requirement of 25 CE credits annually.
|New education requirements effective for the QAFP and CFP examinations examinations.||Please see New Education Requirements for Certification|
|QAFP Professional Education Program becomes available to students.||Program initially offered by FP Canada only|
April 1, 2022
|Post-secondary education requirements for certification take effect.||Please see New Post-Secondary Education Requirements|