Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Course

Introduction

Are you interested in pursuing a career in financial planning? If so, becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is the right path for you. 

The CFP Certification is widely recognised as a top certification in the field of Financial Planning worldwide. The certification is awarded by the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) to individuals pursuing a career in financial planning. The CFP is widely acclaimed for its financial planning training, education, and ethical standards in practice.

Career Scope as Certified Financial Planner

career & Scope of financial risk management

Certified Financial Planners have numerous career opportunities available to them. Individuals have the option to pursue careers in financial planning firms, wealth management companies, banks, and insurance agencies, or establish their independent practices.

You can get recruited for various job titles such as Financial Planner, Tax Consultant, Portfolio Manager, Financial Analyst, Insurance Advisor, Management Trainee, Project Associate, etc. in both public and private sectors. The demand for CFPs is high, especially with the increasing complexity of financial markets and the need for individuals to plan for their financial future.

One of the advantages of becoming a CFP is the opportunity to develop enduring relationships with clients and assist them in reaching their financial objectives. This can be rewarding both personally and professionally.

Additionally, there is an increasing demand for Certified Financial Planners as more people are turning to professionals for help in managing their finances.

Certified Financial Planners offer detailed financial guidance to clients on various topics including taxes, investments, estate planning, and insurance. 

Role & Responsibilities of Certified Financial Planner

roles and responsibility of Data analyst

The primary responsibility of Certified Financial Planners is to assist clients in creating comprehensive financial plans that support their goals and objectives. This involves examining clients’ financial circumstances, identifying areas for enhancement, and suggesting suitable tactics to attain their financial prosperity.

CFPs help clients with important financial decisions like investments, retirement planning, tax planning, and insurance coverage. They offer information and advice on various financial products and services to assist clients in making well-informed decisions.

In addition, Certified Financial Planners are required to stay current on industry trends, regulations, and best practices to offer top-notch service to their clients. They must also adhere to a defined code of ethics and professional conduct set by the FPSB.

Employment Scope Career Options for Certified Financial Planner

The Certified Financial Planner Certification is highly valued by companies in the BFSI sector across the country. There are various career options available for CFP certification holders, including corporate roles in the financial sector, independent advisory positions, and even setting up their own financial firm.

Top companies such as Deloitte, Wells Fargo, Amazon, Morgan Stanley, EY, Standard Chartered Bank, Axis Bank, Barclays, KPMG, Goldman Sachs, etc. have various roles for Certified Financial Planners.

Career scope for Certified Financial Planner in Govt & PSU sector

Certified Financial Planners can also pursue career opportunities in the government and public sector. Government agencies and public sector undertakings in India often seek out Certified Financial Planners for positions involving financial planning, investment analysis, and risk management. Examples of these agencies include SEBI, RBI, IRDAI, LIC, SBI, and NABARD.

Certified Financial Planners in the government sector may work in departments including finance, treasury, investment management, and economic policy. They are responsible for overseeing the effective management of public funds and maintaining financial stability and growth.

PSUs provide CFPs with opportunities in various fields including wealth management, insurance planning, and retirement planning for employees.

Salary Range

Salary range of Energy auditor

The salary range for Certified Financial Planners can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and the company they work for.

On average, entry-level CFPs can expect to earn around 4 to 6 lacs per annum, while mid-level professionals can earn between ₹6 to 10 lacs per annum. Senior-level CFPs with significant experience and expertise can earn upwards of ₹20 lacs per annum. In addition to a competitive salary, Certified Financial Planners may also receive bonuses and incentives based on performance and client satisfaction.

 

CFP Program Structure

The CFPCM certification program in India consists of 4 levels, each requiring individual study and exams for qualification. The course structure is outlined as follows.

Level 1 – Investment Planning Specialist (IPS)

Level 2 – Retirement and Tax Planning Specialist (RTPS)

Level 3 – Risk and Estate Planning Specialist (REPS)

Level 4 – Integrated Financial Planning Course (IFP)

Upon completing and passing the exams for each of the CFP levels 1, 2, and 3, individuals receive a Specialist Certification from FPSB USA. After passing CFP Levels 1, 2 & 3, you can move on to the Final Level to earn your CFP Certification.

How to Become a Certified Financial Planner?

Obtaining the CFP designation involves fulfilling criteria in four areas: formal education, clearing the exam, relevant work experience, and demonstrated professional ethics.

Regarding professional experience, candidates must demonstrate a minimum of three years (or 6,000 hours) of full-time professional experience in the industry, or two years (4,000 hours) in apprenticeship.

Candidates are required to comply with the CFP Board’s standards of professional conduct. They must report any criminal activity, government inquiries, bankruptcies, customer complaints, or job terminations. Nothing can be hidden as candidates seeking certification from the CFP Board undergo thorough background checks.

Pathways to CFP Courses

An individual in India seeking certification may choose to register through the Regular Pathway at FPSB India authorised Education Providers or apply for the Challenge Status Pathway with the necessary education and experience. There are two methods to obtain CFP Certification.

Regular Pathway:

Candidates must have passed Class 10th before enrolling in the CFP Certification Programme at an FPSB India Authorised Education Provider. In addition, candidates are required to pass exams that are held online at NSE Examination Centres.

Exam 1

Risk Analysis & Insurance Planning

Exam 2

Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits

Exam 3

Investment Planning

Exam 4

Tax Planning & Estate Planning

 

Another important thing to remember is candidates are required to complete their HSC or Class 12th education and then take the CFP Certification Examination (Exam 5) focusing on Advanced Financial Planning.

Graduates are required to have three years of work experience in Personal Financial Planning, while non-graduates must have five years of work experience in the same field either before or after taking the CFP exam.

 

Challenge Status Pathway:

Candidates who have completed certifications such as CA/Intermediate level, MPhil, FFSI & FLMI from LOMA, CAIIB, CFA, ICWA, CS, LLB, PhD, PG, Licentiate/Associate/Fellowship of Life Insurance, Actuary,  and Civil Service Examinations by UPSC are eligible to apply through the Challenge Status Pathway. In this mode, candidates need to pass only the fifth exam (Advanced Financial Planning) to obtain the certification.

However, candidates must have three years of experience in the Financial Services sector or five years of experience in the Non-financial Services Industry before taking Exam 5.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility criteria for certified fraud examiner

The primary criteria for candidates appearing for the CFP certification is to have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university. The degree requirement can be completed after passing the CFP exam within five years. It is not necessary to have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible to take the CFP Board Certification Examination.

Additionally, passing exams 1 to 4 by NSE is required. Candidates are eligible to qualify for Exam 5 in Advanced Financial Planning only after passing the first 4 exams.

Individuals with certain professional designations approved by the CFP Board, such as attorneys, CPAs, CCAs, CAs, CWMs, CLUs, ChFCs, and CFAs, are eligible to register for the exam without needing to complete the education requirements through the CFP Board’s “challenge” status. PhDs in business and economics are also exempt from the educational requirements.

In addition to educational qualifications, personal financial planning experience is equally crucial. Under the Regular Pathway, candidates have the option to complete this criteria either before or after Exam 5. However, candidates following the Challenge Status pathway, it is required to have gained the necessary work experience before taking Exam 5.

 

Exam Pattern and Details for Certified Financial Planner

The CFP exam is conducted in March, July, and November.

The exam is overseen by CFP professionals, who determine content coverage, scoring, and passing criteria.

Registration for the CFP exam is open before fulfilling the education coursework requirement. CFP Board Registered Programs offer education verification services to CFP Board. The transcript review and Accelerated Path options necessitate arranging for specific documentation to be submitted to CFP Board for review. 

The CFP Certification Examination is a computer-based exam with 170 multiple-choice questions, divided into two sessions with a 40-minute break in between. Candidates are given up to three hours to complete each session of the exam, which consists of two case studies, multiple mini-case problem sets, and stand-alone questions that evaluate the student’s ability to apply their knowledge of financial planning to various situations.

Students and certificants are required to follow the CFP Board Code of Ethics & Professional Responsibility and the Financial Planning Practice Standards. 

For exams 1 to 4 — candidates must achieve a minimum score of 60%. Students who achieve 80% or higher will receive a Grade A, those with 70% or more but less than 80% will receive a Grade B, and those with 60% or more but less than 70% will receive a Grade C.

For Exam 5 — Candidates are required to review probable case studies illustrating real-life Financial Planning scenarios on the FPSB India website, as two of these cases will be included in the examination. Candidates are prohibited from bringing copies of the case studies into the examination hall. The candidates will need to evaluate clients’ financial status by analysing their information, understanding client-specific situations, and selecting the best solution for the client.

Candidates must achieve a minimum of 50% marks to pass the CFP Certification Exam. Students who achieve 50% or more but less than 60% receive a Grade C, those who achieve 60% or more but less than 75% receive a Grade B, and those who achieve 75% or more receive a Grade A. The good thing is that there are no negative markings.

CFP Course Modules

The CFP certification program consists of five exams covering six modules. The first module does not have a separate exam. The weightage of this module is distributed equally among the remaining five (20% each). The six modules are as follows:

Name of Module

Details

Module 1

Introduction To Financial Planning

Module 2

Risk Analysis & Insurance Planning

Module 3

Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits

Module 4

Investment Planning

Module 5

Tax Planning & Estate Planning

Module 6

Advanced Financial Planning

Skills Required to Become a Certified Financial Planner

skills required to become a certified financial planner

Becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) requires more than just passing exams and gaining work experience. It also necessitates possessing certain skills that are essential for success in the financial planning industry. Some of the key skills required to become a CFP include strong analytical skills, expertise in financial planning, good communication and interpersonal skills, business and sales skills, ethical conduct and integrity, and attention to detail.

Fees for Certified Financial Planner Course

The fees for the CFP course can vary depending upon the training provider and the mode of study (online or in-person). Candidates are required to register with Education Providers approved by FPSB India for CFP Certification Education Provider. There are 45 Authorised Education Providers in India, with over 75 branches in different cities offering various full-time, part-time, distance learning, and e-learning programs nationwide.

The program fees can range from Rs 40,000 to Rs 80,000, depending on factors such as course material, mode of education delivery, and candidates’ required classroom intervention.

  

Conclusion

CFP course is both rewarding and challenging. It offers growth and advancement opportunities as well as a chance to make a positive impact on people’s financial lives. Due to the growing need for financial planning services in the current economic landscape, companies, government agencies, and public sector organisations are actively seeking out CFP certification holders.

To succeed in this field, aspiring Certified Financial Planners need to commit to ongoing learning, staying informed about industry trends, and offering top-notch financial advice to clients.

 

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