Future of AFP® designation

The AFP® designation is a mark of excellence used by 4,124 members of the Financial Planning Association of Australia.

Should I be elected to the FPA Board on 21 October 2020, I will urge the FPA Board to assess the merits of….

Should there be a merger of the CFP® and AFP® designations?

The FPA is faced with a challenge from FASEA education standards. The new standards displace the CFP® and AFP® designations from being the highest and higher professional standards in financial planning.

Under FASEA from 1 January 2019, New Entrants and Existing Advisers are required to have completed a FASEA approved bachelor degree (AQF7) level or above or hold an equivalent qualification. Existing Advisers are required to complete the FASEA Exam by 1 January 2022.

A merger is not a new challenge for the FPA. The CFP® eligibility criteria (CFP program 1-5 units) has changed for new entrants since 1998 by making a cohort decision or setting a temporary standard to suit the financial planning environment of the day.

The AFP® designation was introduced in 2008 to assist members that did not wish to qualify for the CFP® designation or the FPA’s degree requirement at the time.

To encourage FPA member discussion, these are my opening remarks about the merger:

  1. AFP®s are already voting members of the FPA, the same voting rights as CFP®
  2. AFP®s are bound by the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice, the same as CFP®
  3. AFP®s are bound by the same Constitution, Disciplinary Regulation, FPA Brand Regulations, Rules of Professional Conduct and Continuing Development Policy as the CFP®
  4. Some AFP®s already have a FASEA approved degree and some CFP®s do not
  5. Some AFP®s have not done some or all of the CFP (1-5) program units and some CFP®s haven’t either including me!
  6. There were 5,724 CFP®s in 2019. This number has not grown since the peak of 5,736 in 2009.
  7. AFP® numbers have declined from 4,304 to 4,124 in 2019.
  8. A merger of CFP® and AFP® would grow the CFP® numbers to more than 10,000 in Australia.
  9. The CFP® program generates more than $1.26 million (2019) in revenue
  10. FASEA has assigned two credits towards the five unit CFP Program since Semester 2, 2003 and up to 4 credits with many universities, ref: FPA Annual Report 2020, page 30.
  11. Australia was an early adopter (1986) of the CFP® designation but many countries have more CFP®s which the FPA hasn’t addressed.

In my view it is time to revisit the pathway to CFP® and investigate the merger of qualified AFP®s with the CFP® designation.

Your vote for me in the FPA Board election will determine if you agree with this position.

Thank you.

One comment

  1. This is a brilliant idea, it would at least recognise those AFP’s who have completed an approved degree and put everyone on the same playing field. Sometimes I feel that the FPA is wearing 2 hats, and sometimes it’s clear they are talking for all financial planners, but often they are also clearly using the platform to promote CFPs. I really hope that you get some traction with this Julie. And I hope that you managed to get enough votes to get onto the board.


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