What is a Certified Financial Planner?

To manage our finances, we all need to have a financial planner who can help us set goals that are achievable, analyze financial risks involved, tax planning, etc. In today’s era of specialization, we need expert guidance to manage our personal finances too. That is when a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) comes into picture.

The CFP certification is conducted by the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB Ltd.), based in the U.S. FPSB India is its Indian counterpart that manages and conducts the program in India. The CFP is recognized in over 24 countries and is one of the best-known certifications in the financial planning domain. It focuses on a variety of topics along the personal finance angle such as the time value of money, risk and insurance planning, retirement planning, estate planning, taxation planning, etc. So, if you are interested in the area of personal finance or investment planning, then this is the right certification for you. Of course, apart from a global accreditation, a CFP becomes a part of global peers in the finance domain. Dealing with clients also helps them liaison and network with individuals from various industries,

There are two ways of doing this certification:

1) The Regular Program in which the syllabus is spread over 5 exams

  • Eligibility is open for anyone who has cleared Std. 12th / HSC
  • Work experience is not mandatory to apply
  • You can choose to register via self study or by choosing an Education Partner (these are institutes that are approved by the FPSB to conduct CFP training, visit their website for more information)

2) The Challenge Status Program which has just one exam that covers the entire syllabus. To be able to apply under this program you have to meet certain criteria:

  • You should have a post graduate degree / CA / MBA or CFA or other degrees as mentioned here
  • You also need work experience of 3-5 years before applying for this program

Once you clear the exams, you can sign the Code of Ethics, be a certified CFP and use the trademark CFP Marks.
If you take up the Regular Program, to use the CFP Marks (the trademarks), you have to acquire work experience of 3-5 years (depending on whether you are a graduate or not). Once you are certified, you join the ranks of other CFP professionals, forming an elite network of qualified financial planners.