In order to be certified, a CFP CERT TM candidate must meet all the four requirements of the certification process described below, while an AFPM candidate must meet the education, examination and the ethics requirements:
A candidate must complete all the modules in the certification programme (Module 1 to 6) including: Foundations in Financial Planning, Risk Management and Insurance Planning, Tax Planning, Investment Planning, Retirement Planning and Estate Planning, and Financial Plan Construction and Professional Responsibilities. Completion of the academic requirement is available through a 40 hours lecture based course.
Upon successful completion of the academic requirement, the candidate is eligible to register for the Certification Examination(s). The Certification Examination is designed to assess the candidate’s ability to apply his/her financial planning education to financial planning situations in an integrated format, thereby protecting the public by assuring that he/she is at the appropriate level of competency required for practice.
This centers on work which involves personal financial planning-related experience. It is designed to provide the public with the assurance that the candidate understands the counseling nature of personal financial planning. The requirement is three years, performed before or after the successful completion of the Certification Examination.
Experience requirement is defined as the supervision, direct support, teaching, or the personal delivery of all or part of the personal financial planning process to a client4. Qualifying experience must be able to be categorized into the six primary elements of the personal financial planning process summarised below:
- Establishing the client-planner relationship.
- Gathering client data.
- Determining the client’s financial status.
- Developing and presenting a client-specific financial plan tailored to meet the goals and objectives of the client.
- Implementing the financial plan.
- Monitoring the financial plan.
FPAM reserve the right to conduct interview(s) to determine the suitability of experience disclosed. The decision made thereafter by FPAM is final.
Qualifying work experience can be earned prior to, concurrent with or subsequent to the education and examination requirements. Candidates who wish to apply for the Challenge Status must have acquired the three years work experience prior to application of the status.
Once the education, examination, and work experience requirements are satisfied, the CFP CERT TM candidate will receive an application form for Certified membership, which includes an ethics statement form. The AFPM candidate will also receive an application form on completion of the education and examination requirements. Prior to certification, the CFP® or AFPM candidate will be required to disclose past or pending litigation or agency proceedings and to acknowledge the right of FPAM to enforce its Professional Standards and Code of Ethics through the due process described.
Once certified, CFP CERT TM professionals must fulfill a biennial continuing education requirement of 30 hours to stay up-to-date on planning strategies and financial trends affecting their clients. In addition, FPAM monitors compliance with its Professional Standards and Code of Ethics by requiring an annual disclosure statement and by investigating consumer complaints and licensees’ periodic disclosures of investigations or legal proceedings. AFPM licensees will also have a continuing education requirement, although it is less onerous.