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Frequently Asked Questions

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM or CFPCM is an international certification program in the field of Financial Planning, wealth management and financial advisory services. Financial Planning is one of the fastest growing careers across the world. Being one of the fastest growing economies, India currently has around 5 crore families with investible surplus. Assuming one financial planner is handling approx. 1,000 clients we need at least 50,000 Certified Financial Planners in India immediately. This is set to grow at a faster rate. CFPCM designation was rated as Gold Standard in Financial Planning by Wall Street Journal in the year 2006.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM Certification or CFPCM Certification is a mark of excellence granted to individuals who meet the stringent standards of education, examination, experience and ethics. It is the most prestigious and internationally accepted Financial Planning certification recognized and respected by the global financial community.

CFPCM Certification is for financial services professionals, customer relationship officers, insurance agents, stock brokers, those looking to expand their careers in the financial services business, graduates and HSC (12th) pass students who want to be professionally and globally recognized.

Financial Planning is one of the fastest-growing professions across the world and Financial Planners are the most sought after professionals by a fast growing working population that earns well, and needs expert handling of their finances. Opportunities are plenty with Banks, Financial Planning Outfits, Wealth Managers, Life Insurers, Accounting Firms, Stock brokers seeking professionals with such expertise. Financial Planners offer expert opinions on issues related to retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, investment planning, insurance planning, financial management of small businesses and trusts, stock broking, debt and risk analysis.

Yes, currently CFP Certification is offered and recognized in over 23 countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, China Taipei, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States of America. FPSB, Denver, US enters into licensing and affiliation agreements with non-profit organizations (or their equivalent) around the world that allows the organizations to establish and operate the CFP certification program in a country or region. FPSB Affiliates who meet and maintain FPSB’s affiliation criteria of high standards are authorized to administer the CFP certification program on behalf of FPSB in a country or region. FPSB India is one of the Affiliates of FPSB, Denver, USA.

CFP certification undertaken in any of the affiliate country is recognized globally and governed by cross border policy usage.

Financial Planners may earn in any of the following three ways:
1. A Planner can be paid by a salary paid by the company for which the Planner works; by fees based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or on a percentage of the assets and/or income.
2. By commissions paid by a third party from the products sold to clients to carry out the Financial Planning recommendations.
3. By a combination of fees and commissions whereby fees are charged for the amount of work done to develop Financial Planning recommendations and commissions are received from any product sold.
But in the future it is sure that financial planners will be paid on fee basis just like other professions, i.e. medical, law, accountancy, etc.

There is a greater demand for CFP certificate holders in the BFSI domain and they would have an upper hand over others. A CFP professional could look at working with:

  • Banks
  • Wealth managements firms and distribution houses
  • Mutual fund and insurance companies
  • Boutique financial planning firms
  • Financial planning software firms

The certification would open up the doors of entrepreneurship. Aspiring individuals could look at starting on her own and pursue the career as a practicing financial planner.

Financial planner helps to make one’s financial dreams come true. Most of the people have hopes and dreams and life goals like buying a home or business, saving for college education for children, taking a dream vacation, reducing taxes, retiring comfortably. Financial planning is the process of wisely managing your finances so that you can achieve your dreams and goals, while at the same time helping you negotiate the financial barriers that inevitably arise in every stage of life.

A CFPCM professional is an expert to help people in achieving their financial goals. 

Only after a candidate is successful in all the component exams, Exam 1 – 4, he/she is eligible to take an attempt at the final exam, Exam 5. But a candidate of challenge status pathway can straightaway appear for Exam 5, he/she is not required to give Exam 1-4. 

No, there is no entrance test for joining the CFPCM Certification Program.

The exams are conducted in English only.

Exam 1 – 4: Two (2) hours each for Exam 1, Exam 2, Exam 3 and Exam 4

Exam 5: Four (4) hours

No, there is no negative marking in CFPCM examination.

Financial Planning Standards Board India (FPSB India) offers the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM or CFPCM Certification Program. FPSB India is the sole licensing body that awards CFPCM Certification in India through an agreement with FPSB, US. 

To benefit and protect the public, FPSB regulates how CFP professionals use FPSB’s CFP or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER marks outside the borders of the country or region in which they first received CFP certification.
Incidental Use
FPSB permits incidental use of the CFP marks by CFP professionals outside the country or region of their initial certification. Incidental use consists of displays of the CFP marks in/on:
• Articles published in a new country or region.
• Business cards or brochures distributed while traveling abroad.
• Websites targeted toward stakeholders in the country or region of initial certification that are viewable outside the area’s borders.
Cross-Border Use
If an individual wishes to hold himself or herself out as a CFP professional or use the CFP marks outside his or her country or region of initial certification for anything other than incidental use, the CFP professional can pursue one of two options:
1. Cross-Border Certification: An individual using the CFP marks in more than one country or region can become cross-border certified by obtaining CFP certification from the FPSB Affiliate in the new country or region and abiding by the certification renewal requirements of both FPSB Affiliates. Once the CFP professional has completed the process, he or she can identify himself or herself as a CFP professional in those territories as well.
2. Restricted Use of the CFP Marks: If an individual does not want to/cannot become certified in a new territory, he can always communicate the fact that he or she has obtained CFP certification in the country or region of initial certification.

There are 2 pathways through which an aspirant can register for the CFPCM Certification program namely:

1) Regular Pathway through either Education Partners or “Self Study”

2) Challenge Status Pathway

A candidate who chooses “Self Study” mode can pursue study by self after registration with FPSB India. However, if a candidate chooses Education Partner route for education, he/she needs to additionally register with one of FPSB India’s authorized Education Partners, which are those educational institutes/corporate which are approved by FPSB India to provide education/training for the CFPCM Certification program. Currently, FPSB India has authorized around 30 educational institutes/corporate as authorized Education Partners to conduct the education for the CFPCM Certification program (Kindly visit FPSB India website for complete directory with search capabilities).

The Challenge Status Program is for professionals who already possess certain skill sets and proficiency which is expected of Financial Planners. In order to enrol for the Certification through the Challenge Status Pathway, the candidate needs to meet the education and experience criteria. A candidate applying for the Challenge Status pathway needs to appear only for a single examination (Exam 5). Nevertheless, the syllabus under the Challenge Status program is same as in the Regular Pathway.

A candidate appearing for CFP examination through regular mode will require at least 6 months in completing certification. However, a candidate appearing through Challenge Status mode can complete it within 3 month.
An applicant is required to complete the CFP Certification Program within a maximum period of 1 year from the date he/she registers for the CFP Certification Education program.

In case you are unable to complete at least 3 exam within 1 year then you have to pay the renewal fees and extend for another a year to finish remaining examinations.  In other words, you will need to undergo all the modules 1-5 within 1 year of registration.

Students are permitted for :

  • Use their own calculators – regular / scientific / financial. 
  • No exchange of accessories will be permitted during the examination.
  • Students shall also have access to Excel/Calculator in the computers provided by NSE Test Centres.
  • Do not carry hard copy of the case studies uploaded on the website, or for that matter any other paper printed or handwritten in the examination hall.
  • You are not allowed to carry Laptop, Palmtop, Log Tables, Annuity tables etc.
  • You are not allowed to use Calculator in the Mobile Phones.
  • Mobile phones have to be necessarily kept in the “switched off” mode during the examination.

To professionalize the product based advisory and specialized advisory services, FPSB India has established AFP Certification which is targeted at existing professionals who want to upgrade their knowledge about Financial Planning without undergoing the entire CFPCM Certification Program.

The various Certifications available under this option are:
• AFP Certification (Risk Analysis & Insurance Planning)
• AFP Certification (Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits)
• AFP Certification (Investment Planning)
• AFP Certification (Tax Planning & Estate Planning)

It has been observed that many candidates have cleared Exam 5 but they are not eligible to opt for CFP Certification as they lack the requisite work experience of 3 years or 5 years, as the case may be. Financial Planning Standards Board India introduces a supervision model that would help candidates develop the professional skills and knowledge required to practice Financial Planning. The supervision model mandates a candidate, “the Supervisee”, to undergo training and guidance under a Financial Planning practitioner, “the Supervisor”, for a period of one year. The exercise shall be monitored and evaluated at specified intervals. For more details refer point no 29. http://www.fpsbindia.org/scripts/Downloads.aspx

 In your case, you will be issued a Special Certificate by FPSB India mentioning that you have successfully accomplished the CFPCM Certification exams against an annual fee which is equivalent to the certification fee and following your successful completion of 3 years of work experience, you shall be awarded the CFPCM Certification.

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