The Financial Planning Association’s head of policy and standards said the group’s Certified Financial Planner designation would probably be up for review now that the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority had released its proposed framework.

Speaking at the 2018 FPA Professionals Congress in Sydney this morning, Ben Marshan told attendees the CFP designation was about advisers demonstrating they had reached a higher level of training and signed up to a code of ethics. It was never been about meeting minimum requirements, he said.

“It’s a program that’s designed to demonstrate that you sit at the highest level of professionalism,” Marshan said. However, he did reveal that after FASEA’s announcement – which proposed that the CFP would be worth only two credits in recognised prior learning – the FPA would need to consider revisions.

“Will the program itself change? I don’t know, 100 per cent,” Marshan said. “We’ll need to do a review, but my gut feeling is that we will need to change the CFP program.”

Marshan explained that the CFP had many different iterations worldwide.

“Our CFP program doesn’t really look like other programs around the world because they have different pathways to go through,” Marshan said.

He reminded attendees that the initial focus for the FPA would be on producing submissions to FASEA’s consultation on the proposal and coming to an understanding of what the final standards were. Only then could the association figure out the best course of action for the CFP.

“These legislative instruments only came out in the last few days,” Marshan said. “We need to go through a process [where we] sit back and have a look at the CFP program and where it fits in going forwards…so we’ve got a project [that we’ll probably] do early next year.”

Regardless of what shape the CFP might take in the future, the FPA would actively support its roughly 14,000 members, Marshan said.

“Yes, there will be a place for us,” he said. “There will be a big place for us to support you, look after you, provide certification, help with professional certification, reach out to consumers and reach out to government. I don’t believe any of that will change going forward.”

He also urged members to visit FASEA’s website and start figuring out what study they’d be required to complete if the proposed standards went through. The answers, he said, were “pretty much there now”.

“They’re not 100 per cent final because there is a consultation going on, but you are now able to go to the FASEA website, have a look at the legislative standards and understand how your specific qualifications, education, designations and experience fit  within this framework,” Marshan said.

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Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning.