The Financial Planning Profession (Global Context)

In a newly emerging profession such as financial planning, there is a lack of regulation, especially in the early years of development. The need for some forms of self-regulation and the demand that a financial planner be competent and trustworthy have prompted several independent financial services organizations to introduce certifications and ethical benchmarks to meet these challenges in accordance to the need in each country. Those who meet the requirement of the certification process and ethical standards will be awarded a professional financial planning designation.

One of the oldest, best-known financial planning certification service marks is the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), which has gained global recognition because of its active standard setting activities and worldwide presence. The CFP designation was first introduced in the United States in the early 1970s to meet the need of the consumers. The CFP mark now belongs to the CFP Board of Standards (CFP Board), USA, which has member associations world-wide.
The CFP Board was founded in July 1985 as the International Board of Standards and Practices for Certified Financial Planners, Inc., (IBCFP) by the College for Financial Planning (College) and the Institute of Certified Financial Planners (ICFP). The IBCFP became Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) on February 1, 1994. As a professional regulatory organization acting in the public interest by fostering professional standards in personal financial planning, the CFP Board establishes and enforces education, examination and experience and ethics requirements for CFP certificants. The CFP service mark is promoted world-wide through member associations, the FPAs.

The Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner (FChFP) designation was developed by the National Association of Malaysian Life Insurance and Financial Advisors] (NAMLIFA) in 1996. The designation was adopted by the Asia Pacific Financial Services Association (APFinSA) in 2001 as the unified designation for its member associations in 11 countries.

The Registered Financial Planners Institute (RFPI) formed in 1983 in the United States to promote professionalism among those who are or will be active in the field of financial planning for individuals and businesses. The RFPI is an international organization with chapters and members throughout the world. The RFPI offers study programs both in classroom conducted seminars and correspondence courses. RFPI is a collective membership of financial planners and is designed to serve the interest of both its members and the general public in matters relating to financial planning. RFPI recognizes qualified individuals by designation of RFP, SRFP who are in the field of financial planning which would include: insurance, attorneys, real estate, bankers, CPAs, stock brokers, securities or other professionals licensed in similar fields that have the ability to properly financial plan individuals or businesses in their related fields.

The Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) credential was established for CPAs in the United States who specialize in personal financial planning. The credential is awarded exclusively to members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) who have demonstrated considerable experience and expertise in that area. As of today, the AICPA has granted approximately 3,300 CPA/PFS credentials.

Globally the Chartered Wealth Manager (CWM) is one of the fastest growing financial planner specializations which focus on developing critical relationship management skills for financial planners and advisors. The designation is conferred by the Board of Standards of the American Academy of Financial Management in 145 countries.

The rest of the certification qualifications related to financial planning include: Fellow, Financial Services Institute (conferred by LOMA, USA; the Certified Private Banker designation (conferred by the American Academy of Financial Management); the Certified Financial Marketing Consultant (CFMC) conferred by the Institute of Marketing Malaysia.

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