Certified Financial Planners (CFP)

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   What is a Certified Financial Planner?

Certified Financial Planner certification is considered by some as the industry standard in financial planning.  CFP professionals are the largest identifiable body of licensed financial planners in Canada with over 17,500 individuals meeting the strict standards of this designation.  CFP certification provides assurance that the planner is committed to internationally-recognized professional standards of competence, ethics and practice as set and enforced in Canada by Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC).

   Which organization gives the designation for Certified Financial Planners in Ontario?

Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC)
Address: 375 University Avenue, Suite 902, Toronto, ON M5G 2J5
Phone: 416-593-8587
Toll Free: 1-800-305-9886
Fax: 416-593-6903
E-mail: [email protected]

          What are the steps to become a Certified Financial Planner?       

1.   Research the profession in Ontario

The first step is to research the profession in Ontario to determine if it is right for you.  This would include looking at the other designations such as Personal Financial Planner (PFP).

2.   Review the certification criteria and make note of all documents, tests, and requirements that are necessary to obtain

The Earn CFP Certification section of the FPSC website provides the path of the certification process.  
Holders of an FPSC Approved Prior Credential may qualify to be exempt from the FPSC-approved Core Curriculum requirement and apply directly to write FPE1.  You can view the list by visiting the Approved Prior Credential section of the Financial Planning Standards Council website.  If you hold any of these credentials, you should register with the FPSC.

3.   Select and enrol in a Core Curriculum program

Once you decide that you are interested in getting the CFP certification, you should enrol in a FPSC-approved Core Curriculum education program if you do not have an exception based on any Approved Prior Credential. 
The Core Curriculum Educators section of the FPSC website provides the list of approved education providers.  Some of the providers are colleges, universities or industry education body.  There are several online options such as Advocis, CSI Global Education and the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning.  

4.   Next steps

Successful completion of one of these approved programs will qualify candidates to sit for Financial Planning Examination Level 1 (FPE1).  Afterwards, you will need to undertake the other certification requirements, which include work experience, additional training and examination until they have all been met for you to qualify for your certification. 

                      Is it possible for my international work experience and credentials to help me become a Certified Financial Planner in Ontario?                   

Your international work experiences and credentials can enhance your competitiveness and potentially help you obtain advanced standing towards certain requirements if they fall into the “Approved Prior Credentials” category.  However, you still need some relevant Canadian work experience to become a Certified Financial Planner.

   What is the difference between taking FPSC-approved Core Curriculum Programs through a college or university and an industry education body?

The difference is that taking courses with a college or university can often count towards a diploma at a college or a degree at a university.

    What are soft skills and are they important for this profession? 

Soft skills refer to a set of non-technical or interpersonal skills that influence how individuals interact with each other.  They are important for all professions.  Canadian employers across all fields and industries have identified the lack of Canadian-specific soft skills and professional workplace communication as the greatest barrier to employment for internationally-trained professionals, regardless of the individual’s qualifications and education.  Understanding the local language and customs of business is the key to success in any workplace.

   What are some Professions North/Nord (PNN) services that can help?

Portfolio Development
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Intercultural Communication for the Canadian Workplace (ICCW)

     Is there financial aid available?  

Certain PNN clients can be eligible for a bursary for tuition fee for courses taken at Laurentian University under the Ontario Bridging Participant Assistance Program (OBPAP).  Individuals planning to register in college or university courses should visit that academic institution’s Financial Aid website for the various financial aid options available.  Certain employers subsidize in part or in full the cost of certification for their employees. 

   What are some other useful resources/links for this profession?

Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC)

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