The Financial Planning Association (FPA) believes its Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation can survive and thrive beyond the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) process, probably as a bridging mechanism.
FPA chairman, Neil Kendall has told Money Management that he accepts that uncertainty currently surrounds the future value of the CFP designation, but he believes it will not only continue to be relevant but will become more relevant.
Kendall has also acknowledged to Money Management that the uncertainty surrounding the future of the CFP designation had impacted enrolments in program with many advisers awaiting more clarity around future education pathways.
According to the latest FPA annual report, the CFP designation represented the organisation’s second largest revenue generator after fees, and Kendell finds it unthinkable that it will not continue to be relevant.
“We don’t believe CFP is a minimum standard, we believe it represents the highest global standard,” he said.
“FASEA’s ability is only to recognise qualifications, not designations so it means the CFP doesn’t fit into the degree or graduate diploma boxes but what FASEA haven’t so far told is what represents an approved bridging course,” Kendall said.
He sees the CFP becoming part of the bridging course scenario because it covers off nine of the 10 Financial Planning Education Council (FPEC) curriculum criteria.
“Where do we fit, where do we want it to fit? We think it is inconceivable that it [the CFP] cannot be an approved bridging course and at this stage FASEA has given away nothing on approved bridging courses,” he said.
On that basis, it seemed entirely possible that those who had done the CFP could be counted as having completed an approved bridging course.
“That’s where we think it’s likely to sit initially,” Kendall said. “Longer-term the creation of FASEA has created an environment where the CFP becomes more valuable because right now you’ve got advisers out there who say they are more valuable because they’ve got a degree.”
“But in future there will be two standards – there will be degree-qualified financial planners and then there will be CFPs who have gone the extra step,” Kendall said. “So it will be very strong in future for the CFP because it will be the point of differentiation going forward.”