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:
- AFP®s are already voting members of the FPA, the same voting rights as CFP®
- AFP®s are bound by the Code of Ethics and Professional Practice, the same as CFP®
- AFP®s are bound by the same Constitution, Disciplinary Regulation, FPA Brand Regulations, Rules of Professional Conduct and Continuing Development Policy as the CFP®
- Some AFP®s already have a FASEA approved degree and some CFP®s do not
- 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!
- There were 5,724 CFP®s in 2019. This number has not grown since the peak of 5,736 in 2009.
- AFP® numbers have declined from 4,304 to 4,124 in 2019.
- A merger of CFP® and AFP® would grow the CFP® numbers to more than 10,000 in Australia.
- The CFP® program generates more than $1.26 million (2019) in revenue
- 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.
- 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.