Deakin Uni backs FPA’s CFP push

Tahn Sharpe


July 5, 2018

Deakin University has agreed to back the Financial Planning Association’s Certified Financial Planner designation in its final submission to the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority.

In response to FASEA’s position that the CFP is a designation, not a qualification, The FPA has aligned the CFP program to AQF Level 8 studies to demonstrate that CFP learning outcomes “equate to those expected of students undertaking a Graduate Diploma”.

Lending credence to the assertion, the FPA’s submission highlights that Deakin University, which is regulated by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), has endorsed CFP by awarding credit for the four units of CFP study across its graduate diploma of financial planning and master of financial planning courses.

“The granting of specified credit means Deakin University is satisfied that students who have completed the CFP program have already attained the learning outcomes required for their postgraduate financial planning courses,” the FPA’s submission read.

In a separate attachment within the submission, explaining Deakin’s CFP credit transfer arrangements, the FPA noted that students must also complete three years of relevant work experience to attain the credit exemption for the four CFP units (FPA professionalism, applied strategies 1 and 2, plus investment strategies).

Vested interests

The FPA has a significant stake in FASEA’s decision whether to award exemptions to existing advisers for CFP studies. Along with commercial interests the FPA has in running CFP accreditation, the association’s reputation is tied to the CFP’s position as one of the highest qualifications advisers can attain. A FASEA decision denying the credit exemption would be a damaging blow.

Speaking to Professional Planner on the morning of the submission’s release, FPA chief executive Dante De Gori said the Deakin endorsement – along with data collected and collated from the association’s roadshow events – was what separated the latest FASEA submission from the information conveyed at the roadshows.

“What you saw at the roadshow was what we were proposing,” De Gori said. “The [latest] submission essentially details the reasons for those proposals on two fronts: the research and responses that we got from members at the roadshow; and the full mapping of the CFP program to the AQF framework, together with supporting documentation from Deakin University that supports that mapping.”

De Gori explained that because CFP sits outside the regulated education framework, the FPA needs universities to co-sign on CFP study to have any hope of successfully lobbying the standards body for recognised prior learning (RPL).

“The CFP program, because it’s privately run and not offered by a regulated entity like the university, is not subject to the AQF framework,” De Gori explained. “For us to say where CFP fits in that world, we’ve had to then go and say, ‘Don’t take our word for it,’ ”

The FPA’s hope is that FASEA has enough faith in Deakin to back the university’s conversion of CFP units into university credits.

“A university is not going to undermine itself by allowing a course that doesn’t meet the standard to get an exemption,” De Gori said.

The main assertions from the FPA remain unchanged from those presented during the roadshow and previously reported by Professional Planner. They include:

  • Lowering the number of adviser categories from five to three and removing proposed concessions for related degrees
  • Recognising prior study that is above RG 146 standard and is specific to financial planning
  • Recognising financial planning certification study, specifically that related to CFP.

FASEA is scheduled to deliver its final education standards mandate late this year, with new education and professional year requirements to be in place by January 2019.

TOPICS:   Certified Financial Planner (CFP),  Dante De Gori,  education standards,  Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA),  FPA

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