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Certified Financial Planner Course - CFP Certification, Eligibility, Benefits, Modules, Fees, Job Profiles

Certified Financial Planner Course - CFP Certification, Eligibility, Benefits, Modules, Fees, Job Profiles

Edited By Marar Sumeet Sudarshan | Updated on Nov 15, 2023 12:38 PM IST

Financial Planning Standards Board India (FPSB India) offers the Certified Financial Planner course or CFP in India. At present, there are around 2500 CFP professionals in India. CFP certification is a globally recognized credential that helps learners develop expertise in financial planning. It is one of the best certificate courses for anyone wishing to make a career in financial planning. To obtain a CFP certification, individuals must fulfil the CFP eligiblity criteria and complete the certifcation modules in the CFP course.

CFP professionals display competent and ethical financial planning practice. Certified Financial Planners help their clients who could be individuals or corporates to develop practical and simple financial solutions by creating financial plans for them as per their financial goals. CFP professionals also develop expertise in other areas such as investment management, tax planning, and risk management.

CFP Course Highlights

ParticularsDetails
Course NameCertified Financial Planner
Short NameCFP
Mode of Exam Online
EligibilityFor regular Pathway - Class 12th for specialist certifications and graduation for the CFP exam.

For challenge Pathway - CA, CFA, MBA (Finance), CPA among others.
Subjects

Investment Planning, Retirement and Tax Planning , Risk and Estate Planning , Integrated Financial Planning Financial Plan Assessment, Ethics

What is a Certified Financial Planner?

Certified Financial Planners, also known as CFPs, are professionals certified by the U.S.-based Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB Ltd.), which owns the Certified Financial Planner certification program outside the United States. Certified Financial planners draw financial plans for their clients and help them meet their financial goals. Currently, FPSB offers the Certified Financial Planner course in over 27 countries by partnering with affiliate organisations in each country, collectively known as the FPSB network. At present, there are over 2 lakh CFP holders worldwide.


CFP Certification Regular Pathway Overview

To become a CFP professional in India, an aspirant has to go through the following steps in the regular route of the CFP certification course.

  • Step 1: Register with FPSB Ltd. and access the course material through the board’s learning portal.

  • Step 2: Complete the course study requirement by going through the curriculum and completing the course tests meant for the ensuing specialist certificate exams. The course study can be done through self-study mode or instructor-led study mode by means of an authorised education provider.

  • Step 3: Appear for and clear the three specialist certification courses namely - FPSB Investment Planning Specialist, FPSB Retirement and Tax Planning Specialist, FPSB Risk and Estate Planning Specialist.

  • Step 4: Enrol for and complete the FPSB Integrated Financial Planning Course.

  • Step 5: Pass the CFP exam.

  • Step 6: Complete the ethics module to comply with the FPSB ethical requirement.

  • Step 7: Complete the stipulated work experience requirements (3 years of unsupervised work or 1 year of supervised work).

  • Step 8: Register with FPSB by paying the certification fee.

What is CFP Eligibility?

The first step towards attaining the CFP certification is to clear the three specialist certifications and the integrated financial planning course. As per the CFP eligibility criteria, a candidate must have completed class 12 and must be at least 18 years of age to enrol for any of the CFP specialist certification courses. However, in order to apply for CFP certification, the candidate must have completed graduation.

Is CFP valid in India?

Yes, CFP is valid in India. At present there are around 2,500 certified financial planners in India. FPSB India is the authority that grants CFP certifications in India.

Benefits of Certified Financial Planner Certification

Having a CFP certification can benefit the individual in the following ways

  • Member of a global network of over two lakh CFP professionals in more than 27 countries

  • Better job prospects in banks, distribution houses, AMC, insurance companies, equity brokerage and financial planning firms.

  • Ever-increasing remuneration with increase in product and service offerings to clients

  • Personal satisfaction derived from satisfied clients and pursuit of achieving the financial planning profession’s global standard of excellence.

  • Earning good word-of-mouth publicity through satisfied clients further increases one’s earnings prospects

  • Ensuring consumer trust in the commitment towards ethical financial planning practices.

Certified Financial Planner Course Details

In this section, let’s look in more detail the syllabus and course content of each of the certifications present under the Certified Financial Planner course. The CFP course consists of the following exams :

  • FPSB Investment Planning Specialist Certification

  • FPSB Retirement and Tax Planning Specialist Certification

  • FPSB Risk and Estate Planning Specialist Certification

  • FPSB Integrated Financial Planning Course

  • Financial Plan Assessment

  • CFP exam

  • FPSB Online Ethics Course

In addition to the above, the candidate must also fulfil the work experience requirements as specified by FPSB.

FPSB Ltd. also provides all the registered candidates with digital textbooks, practice quizzes after each chapter, post-module exams and supplemental course materials. These materials are made available online through the board’s learning portal, MyFPSBlearning. Students can also enrol with an FPSB Ltd. Authorised Education Provider. The coursework will be completed in 8-12 weeks.

FPSB Investment Planning Specialist Certification

This certification enables learners to develop strategies that help clients optimise their risk profile, financial capacity and constraints. The course includes topics such as types of securities; investment theory and practice; portfolio construction and management; investment strategies and tactics; and securities laws and regulatory compliance. It consists of three modules. The exam will be held online and will be of 2 hours duration. It will consist of 75 multiple-choice questions.

FPSB Investment Planning Modules

Module

Topics

Personal Financial Management

Client Financial Situation, Time Value of Money, Cash Flow Demands and Conflicts, Budget and Emergency Fund, Debt and Financing Alternatives, Financial Management Strategies

Investment Planning/ Asset Management

Asset Classes and Securities, Pooled Investment Products, Principles of Investment Risk, Investment Performance Management, Investment Theory, Asset Allocation, Wealth Management, Behavioral Finance, Objectives, Constraints and Suitability

Regulatory Environment, Law/ Compliance

Client Best Interest, Economic Environment, Social and Political Environments, Compliance and Implications, Anti-Money Laundering

Candidates must be able to complete the FPSB Investment Planning Specialist certification program within three years of first registering with FPSB Ltd. and must renew their registration every year. At the end of three years, the registration will be deemed invalid.

FPSB Retirement and Tax Planning Specialist Certification

to develop strategies to help clients optimise their wealth accumulation and cash flow leading up to and during retirement, and to advise on the role of tax planning in supporting client goals.

The FPSB Retirement and Tax Planning Specialist course enables the learner to develop strategies to help clients manage wealth in the run up to as well as post retirement. The learner also develops expertise in advising clients in tax matters to support their financial goals. The student will also learn to offer holistic advice by taking into consideration the client's personal financial goals, risk capacity, asset allocation, and various available retirement plans.

The FPSB Retirement and Tax Planning Specialist course consists of two modules. The online test will be of 2 hours duration and will consist of 75 MCQs.

FPSB Retirement and Tax Planning Specialist Modules

Module

Topics

Retirement Planning

Retirement Principles, Retirement Objectives, Retirement Needs, Analysis and Projections, Sources of Retirement Cash Flow, Retirement Cash Flow, Withdrawal Projections and Strategies

Tax Planning and Optimization

International Taxation, Cross Border and Source Rules, Tax Strategies, Accounting Standards and Research

Candidates should complete this certification within three years of registering with FPSB. The registration needs to be renewed annually and will be deemed invalid after expiry of three years.

FPSB Risk and Estate Planning Specialist Certification

The FPSB Risk and Estate Planning Specialist certification helps the learner develop a sound understanding in matters of management, insurance planning and estate planning. The course curriculum is taught through real life examples and case studies specifically tailored for the Indian market.

The FPSB Risk and Estate Planning Specialist exam is conducted in online mode over a duration of 2 hours. It also consists of 75 multiple choice questions. There are two modules under this certification which are given below

FPSB Risk and Estate Planning Specialist Modules

Module

Details

Risk Management and Insurance Planning

Principles, Risk Exposures, Intro to Insurance, Insurance Company/Advisor Selection, Strategic Solution

Estate Planning


Estate Planning Terminology, Wealth Distribution Goals, Estate Planning Process, Transfer During Life and at Death, Planning for Incapacity, Estate Planning Strategies

Just like the previous two specialist certifications, candidates have to complete the FPSB Risk and Estate Planning Specialist certificate within three years of FPSB registration. At the end of three years, the registration will be deemed invalid.

FPSB Integrated Financial Planning Course

In order to be eligible to appear for the FPSB Integration Financial Planning Course, the candidate must have cleared the three specialist certifications listed earlier in the article.

The integrated course draws on the expertise developed through the specialist certifications. It enables the learner to integrate technical topics, behavioural finance principles and client engagement skills to develop effective financial plans that help clients meet their financial goals.

The learning outcome of this module is to enable the learner to prepare financial plans by carefully understanding the needs and objectives of the client. It develops skills such as listening, inquiry, probing, engaging, framing, committing and presenting which are key traits required for a financial planner.

The course consists of three modules which must be completed sequentially

FPSB Integrated Financial Planning Modules

Module

Details

Financial Planning

Process, Principles and

Practice

Financial Planning Process, Practice Standards, Professional Skills, Client Characteristics, Client Engagement and Communication, Critical Thinking, Regulatory Environment of Financial Planning - India


Engaging Clients in the

Financial Planning

Process

Introduction to the Discovery, Appreciative Inquiry, Discovery Process Applied Plans, Goal Determination, Refinement and Setting, Develop Financial Planning, Recommendations, Presenting Recommendations to Clients

Developing Effective Financial Plans

Financial Planning Overview, Financial Plan Elements, Developing Effective Financial Plans

After the completion of the course, the candidate has to go through a Financial Plan Assessment and appear for the CFP exam which can be done in either order.

Financial Plan Assessment

In this evaluation, the student has to prepare a financial plan for a fictitious client. The student has to evaluate the client’s financial needs and objectives and identify vital areas that must be included in the financial plan. The student must finally come up with strategies and recommendations in the form of a written financial plan. The financial plan must be written in a way the client also understands.

CFP Exam

The CFP exam is a test of the candidate’s ability to practise financial planning independently without supervision. The CFP exam is a three hour online test which consists of two sections namely

  • Case Study

  • Financial Planning Process and Regulations

There are 25 questions in each section. The detailed exam pattern is given below.

Who is eligible for the CFP exam?

A candidate who has completed the specialist certifications and completed the integrated financial planning course is eligible to appear for the CFP exam. Through the challenge pathway, candidates need to only complete the integrated financial planning course in order to be eligible to appear for the CFP exam.

CFP Exam Overview

Sections

Details

No. of Questions

Time

Case Study (75 marks)

One comprehensive case on Integrated

Financial Planning.

It will cover Risk Management and Insurance Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Planning and Asset Management, Retirement Planning, Tax Planning, Personal Financial Management, Integrated Financial Planning


25


2.5 hours


Financial Planning Standards (25 marks)


Financial Planning Principles and Process, Financial Planning Skills, Regulatory Environment of Financial Planning - India

25

30 minutes

Candidates can allocate the time of 180 minutes between the two sections as they want. The time duration given in the table is just for suggestive purposes. It is also not necessary that a candidate should separately qualify in each of these two sections.

FPSB Online Ethics Course

Completing the FPSB online ethics course is an essential requirement towards obtaining the CFP certification. The course can be completed online through the board’s learning portal MyFPSBlearning. This interactive course is included with the purchase of the FPSB Certified Financial Planner certification course Materials. It consists of recorded instructions that can be taken all at once or in multiple sittings with knowledge checks.

Once candidates have passed FPSB’s Professional Ethics Course, they must agree to adhere to FPSB’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. This agreement and attestation are required to obtain and maintain CFP certification.

Certified Financial Planner Course Work Experience Requirements

The candidate must possess relevant work experience to earn the CFP certification. The board prescribes that the candidate must have either a one year supervised work experience or a three year unsupervised work experience.

Supervised work experience means working for one year under the supervision of a CFP practitioner. This supervised work experience must be approved and registered with FPSB.

Unsupervised work experience includes work experience in the financial planning or financial services sector including accounting/ fund accounting/ auditing in collective investment schemes, financial advisory and consulting, stock broking and trading services, journalism in personal finance, and corporate finance.

What counts as relevant work experience is given as under -

  • Engaging in work that has been described in FPSB’s Financial Planning Practice Standards

  • Work that requires application of abilities and skills as described in FPSB’s Financial Planner and Competency Profile

  • Abiding by ethical principles mentioned in FPSB’s Financial Planner Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Applying for Certified Financial Planner Certification

Once the candidate has completed all the requirements mentioned above, then he or she can apply to the board for obtaining Certified Financial Planner certification. It must also be noted that the candidate must have completed graduation at the time of applying for CFP certification.

FPSB Authorised Education Providers

In India, FPSB has partnered with several authorised education providers to provide financial planning education courses as per the education requirements of CFP certification programme. Candidates can opt for any one of the providers and enrol with them when they choose the instructor led mode of education. The complete list is given below.

CFP Authorised Education Providers

Provider

Website

3rd EYE Academy for Financial Studies .

http://3rdeyeacademy.com

Beyond Learning Finance

http://beyondlearningfinance.com

CRG Academy of Finance

http://www.crgacademy.in

Edufinpact Labs Pvt Ltd (Earlier IFA- Himanshu M)

https://www.infinacademy.in

FinTram Global

https://fintram.com/

Financial Planning Academy

https://www.fpa.edu.in

IMS Proschool Pvt. Ltd.

https://www.proschoolonline.com/

Indian Institute for Financial Certifications (IIFC)

http://iifcedu.in/

Institute For Financial Literacy

http://www.infily.in

International College of Financial Planning

https://www.icofp.org

International Institute of Research & Wealth Management

https://iirwm.com/

Maestrro Finplan Academy

https://maestrrofinplanacademy.in/

Mylogic Business Management School Pvt Ltd

https://www.mylogicvideos.com/

Next Level Education Private Limited

https://nextlevel.in/

PVS – Prashant V Shah

http://www.prashantvshah.com

Ongoing CFP Certification Requirements

In order to constantly use the Certified Financial Planner designation, all CFP professionals must annually renew their CFP certification by paying the certification fee. In addition to that, CFP professionals are also required to take part in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes.

The CPD requirement is five hours of CPD every year for each of the specialist certifications while it is 15 hours per year for the Certified Financial Planner certification.

Challenge Pathway for CFP Certification

Instead of the regular pathway to obtain CFP certification, certain candidates can also opt for the Challenge Pathway to complete the Certified Financial Planner course. This accelerated pathway has been specifically designed by FPSB for individuals who already possess the necessary work experience and educational qualifications.

Candidates aspiring to opt for the Challenge Pathway must register themselves on the FPSB portal and upload scanned copies of supporting documents for verification and pay the required fees.

After the verification of a candidate’s credentials, he or she can be exempted from taking the specialist certifications in Investment Planning, Risk and Estate Planning, and Retirement and Tax Planning. Instead, they can directly enrol for FPSB Integrated Financial Planning course.

Exempted Category of Candidates

  • Industry professionals who possess the specified educational qualifications/certifications along with relevant work experience.

  • Academics, educators and lecturers who teach the financial planning curriculum and possess relevant educational qualifications/certifications along with work experience.

  • SEBI licensed Registered Investment Adviser (RIA),

  • Past CFP professionals whose CFP certification has lapsed due to non payment of registration fee beyond 5 years from application date .

  • CFP professionals in good standing with one or more Affiliate bodies of FPSB Ltd.

  • FPSB India students with a date of passing CFP exam (Exam 5/Advanced Financial Planning) beyond 5 years from the date of application.

  • Candidates registered under Regular Pathway who possess the specified educational qualifications and relevant work experience, who now wish to switch over to the challenge pathway.

Educational Qualification Accepted Under Challenge Pathway

  • Chartered Financial Analyst, from CFA Institute (USA)

  • Chartered Accountant, or CA(Inter) with 3-year Articleship+B.Com

  • Certified Public Accountant, from AICPA (USA), CMA, ACCA

  • Postgraduate in Economics, Commerce, Finance/Financial Planning

  • Fellow Member of Insurance Institute of India (Life/General)

  • Advanced Wealth Management Course, from IIBF, CAIIB+B.Com (any degree)

  • MBA (Finance) or PGDFM from an AICTE approved Institute

Relevant Work Experience Under Challenge Pathway

Candidates must possess three years of prior experience in the following areas in any bank, NBFC, insurance company, stock brokerage, mutual fund or in the capacity of an investment advisor or portfolio manager.

  • Personal Financial Management; Cash flow management; Budgeting, etc.

  • Investment Planning; Asset management; Portfolio management, etc

  • Risk Management; Insurance Planning

  • Tax Optimization – individuals, firms and corporate

  • Retirement Planning – solutions for individuals and employees

  • Estate Planning; Wealth Transfer – for individuals and in Family office setup

Certified FInancial Planner Course Fees

In order to gain CFP certification, candidates must first register with FPSB and annually renew their registration. Some of the other costs include one time enrollment fee, costs for registering for exams, costs of learning material, fees paid for retaking a particular exam and more. The table below gives a summary of CFP fees and other charges.

Certified FInancial Planner Course Fees and Charges

Particulars

Fees

One time enrolment fee

Rs. 18,000

Candidate registration and renewal fee

Rs. 11,500 p.a

Education materials

Rs. 6,500 per course

Specialist certification exams

Rs. 6,750 per attempt

Revaluation fees

Rs. 3,000 per exam

Specialist Certification /Renewal

Rs. 8,600 p.a

Integrated Financial Planning Course Material

Rs. 13,000

Financial Plan Assessment + CFP Exam Fees

Rs. 23,500

Retake of Financial Plan Assessment

Rs. 10,500 per financial plan submission

Retake of CFP exam

Rs. 12,900 per attempt

CFP Certification /Renewal

Rs. 8,600 p.a

Letter of Good Standing

Rs. 5,400 per issue

CFP Fees Under Challenge Pathway

Particulars

Fees

Document Verification

Rs. 5,000

Registration + Course Material (both EP and

Self study) (bundled price)

Rs. 34,000

Financial Plan Assessment + CFP ® Exam

Rs. 23,500

Retake of Fina(bundled price)

ncial Plan Assessment

Rs. 10,500 per submission

Retake of CFP exam

Rs. 12,900 per attempt

Revaluation of Exam attempt

Rs. 3,000 per exam attempt

CFP Certification /Renewal

Rs. 8,600 p.a

Letter of Good Standing

Rs. 5,400 per issue

Certified Financial Planner Job Profiles

A Certified Financial Planner can be employed in numerous areas such as financial planning and consultancy, risk management, investment advisory service, banks, portfolio management and more. Sometimes CA or CMA professionals also complement their skillsets by pursuing a CFP course or it can even happen vice versa.

CFP Job Profiles

Job Profile

Details

Financial planner

Personally advising clients on money matters to help them meet their financial goals.

Financial Advisor

Providing counselling and advisory services on money matters that can span many areas such as investment management, tax planning, personal finance and real estate.

Portfolio Manager

Formulating and executing investment strategies for clients or mutual fund houses and managing portfolios which can span into different asset classes.

Wealth Advisor

Providing counselling and advisory services usually to high networth individuals and creating financial strategies for managing investments, retirement planning, and day to day cash flow management.

Certified Financial Planner Salary in India

As per data obtained from Ambition Box, the salary of a Certified Financial Planner ranges between 1.80 lakhs p.a to 13 lakhs p.a. The average CFP salary is Rs. 3.9 lakhs p.a. CFP professionals usually work in investment and advisory roles in mutual funds, banks, NBFCs and brokerage houses.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. Who conducts the CFP certification course in India?

The Financial Planning Standards Board India (CFSB India) conducts the CFP certification in India.

2. How many specialist certifications are there in CFP?

There are three specialist certifications in CFP.

3. Which is better, CFP or CFA?

CFP is concerned with financial planning. On the other hand, CFA course has a broader scope as it is concerned with financial and investment analysis and portfolio management. However, both the qualifications can complement each other.

4. What is the one time enrollment fee for CFP regular pathway?

One time enrolment fee is Rs. 18000 for CFP regular pathway.

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