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How long before pursuit of CFP-type designations make a come-back?

Mike Taylor15 July 2021
Graduate holding diploma

What is the future of professional designations such as the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA’s) Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA’s) FchFP when members are intent on complying with the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority regime?

The FPA is currently counting membership renewals with the deadline of 30 June having passed and with members being told there is a “late fee” of $50 for those trying to renew after today, but the organisation will also be wondering about its former significant revenue stream – the CFP program.

The FPA’s last annual report showed that income from the CFP designation more than halved between 2019 and 2020 and with advisers continuing to exit the industry and with new entrants hesitant to join the profession a further decline is thought likely to have occurred in the just-completed financial year.

The FPA’S most recent annual report showed a decline from $1,269,000 in 2019 to just $585,000 in 2020. FPA chief executive, Dante De Gori was contacted by Financial Newswire but had not responded at the time of publication.

However, if the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) is taken as a guide with respect to its FchFP designation, then it seems likely that it will be a number of years before growth in the non-FASEA designation returns to pre-2018/19 levels.

AFA acting chief executive, Phil Anderson said that he could only speak for the AFA but with the FASEA regime requiring passing the exam and then acquiring a bachelor degree qualification status it had clearly made advisers time-poor and less willing to take on achieving designations.

“But I do think the professional designations have an on-going value because the FASEA regime does not cover everything and advisers want specialisation beyond the FASEA core curriculum,” he said.

“There is still a role for specialist designations and I think they will make a come-back in a few more years,” Anderson said.

Wealth Data principal, Colin Williams said that on the available data it appeared that the FPA membership probably stood at something around 7,741 but might be as high as slightly over 8,000 because of non-practicising members

However, he said it was much harder to get a picture of the precise number of CFPs, with the FAR indicating some 2,900 advisers with the designation, and with the FPA web site indicating around 5,500.

Williams said the data placed AFA membership at around 2,297 advisers, with Anderson signalling that membership had been holding steady over recent months.

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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