Sarah Abood

Despite the level of CFP professional numbers falling 4 per cent over the last year in Australia, the result is being pitched as a positive for the Financial Planning Association after the wider industry experienced an 11 per cent drop in advisers over the period.

The CFP professional cohort is actually growing as a proportion of the industry, states FPA chief executive Sara Abood, who notes that 55 per cent of the association’s practitioner members now hold the CFP designation.

“We have proudly welcomed 164 new CFP professionals in 2021 which is a very positive sign for our profession,” Abood said.

“Overall, CFP professional numbers in Australia have dropped slightly in the past year, but this number has only fallen by four per cent compared to 11 per cent drop in financial planners broadly across the profession.”

There are a total of 4,966 CFP professionals in Australia.

“It is particularly pleasing to see that financial planners continue to recognise the value of the CFP certification and dedicate themselves to education excellence, despite the challenges they have been facing over the past few years,” Abood said.

The steady drop in CFP numbers follows the same trend with FPA memberships, which Abood says has declined at a slower rate than other industry associations.

However, the end of 2021 saw the total number of CFP professionals worldwide reach 203,312, an increase of 5.5 per cent during the year.

Fighting hard for CFP recognition

The modest reduction in CFP numbers is a win for the FPA which has fought hard over the last few years to keep the designation relevant during the FASEA era.

In 2019 the FPA’s CFP certification program became the first professional designation education program recognised by FASEA and included as part of four Master of Financial Planning courses.

It has been a long fight for the FPA, which compromised having CFP designation count as part of other qualifications if it couldn’t get it recognised independently.

Former FPA CEO Dante De Gori said he expected a dip in CFP enrolments as the qualification might be considered redundant by advisers who needed to do other education requirements.

“It’d be no surprise to anyone that advisers – rightly so – are concentrating on what they have to do to maintain their authorisation,” De Gori said in 2019. “Yes, for some people that will not be the CFP because they need to do a full graduate diploma or something like that. And that’s fair enough.”