Work Experience Requirements

Financial planning work experience is a key step in achieving CFP® certification, the standard in financial planning. Working directly with clients provides the opportunity to hone your skills and demonstrate that you’re able to serve clients in a real-world setting. For more information about work experience requirements, refer to the Policies and Guidelines for Obtaining and Maintaining CFP Certification and FPSC Level 1® Certification in Financial Planning.

Important Changes to Work Experience Requirements

FP Canada is making changes to its certification programs. Effective January 1, 2020, FPSC Level 1 certification will be replaced by QAFP™ certification and all current FPSC Level 1 certificants will automatically become QAFP professionals. Candidates will be required to demonstrate one year of relevant work experience to qualify for QAFP certification. There will be no change to the current three-year work experience requirement for CFP professionals.
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Timing

To apply for CFP certification, you must have three years of qualifying financial planning work experience. Your work experience must be completed in the eight years preceding your application for CFP certification and within four years following the successful completion of the CFP exam.

 

Qualifying Work Experience

Qualifying work experience is based on a 35-hour work week and is defined as full-time (or equivalent part-time) financial planning related employment or self-employment.

Experience must involve the application of the knowledge, skills and abilities described in the FP Canada Competency Profile and should help candidates in the application of financial planning processes to meet client needs.

  • Financial Management;
  • Investment Planning;
  • Insurance and Risk Management;
  • Tax Planning;
  • Retirement Planning; or
  • Estate Planning (including Legal Aspects).

  • Roles that support the client-planner relationship, such as managing, training or assisting planners, shall qualify if they meet the above criteria.

    Teaching financial planning courses at a post-secondary level qualifies for up to two years of work experience. Financial planning research or teaching that incorporates real-world integrated financial planning situations may qualify as relevant work experience, depending on the specific nature of the research.

    Work experience gained outside Canada will be considered, provided it is generally equivalent to experience that might have been gained in Canada. At least one of the three years of qualifying work experience must have been earned in Canada.

     

    View Examples of Qualifying Work Experience

     

    Submitting Your Work Experience

    FP Canada will review your specific work experience and key responsibilities to make a determination of your qualifying work experience. At the time of application for CFP certification, you will be asked to:

    • Provide an up-to-date resumé detailing your work experience with specific start and end dates.

    • Provide a letter signed by your most recent or current supervisor, if applicable, with details of your position, nature of activities, work start date (and end date if appropriate) and the signatory's contact information.

    • For independent financial planners who are affiliated with financial institution(s) or fee-only planners with no financial institution affiliations, provide a letter from two personal financial planning clients with a detailed description of financial planning services provided, the length of time you have provided these services and the client's contact information.

    All information supplied is subject to verification by FP Canada. Depending on the nature of your responsibilities and their link to the CFP Professional Competency Profile, FP Canada may approve all or part of your work experience.

    Submit Your Work Experience

     

    Key Resources

     

    Examples of Qualifying Work Experience

    Qualifying work experience may include any of the types of roles described below. Please note that all work experience submissions are subject to FP Canada approval. To help you understand the breadth of qualifying work experience, we have outlined several roles that meet FP Canada’s work experience requirements.

    Face-to-face roles involve the direct delivery of personal financial planning services to a client.

      Example of Key Accountabilities #1

      • Build and strengthen relationships with new and existing clients while meeting clients’ short and long-term financial needs, recommending a full range of solutions (banking, credit, investment and wealth protection) and considering the clients’ current situation, risk profile, time horizon, and other personal factors.

      • Proactively establish, develop and maintain strong client relationships through regular contact and through providing timely, value-added information, advice and recommendations, taking into account the latest developments in the markets, the economy and the investment industry.

      • Leverage the firm’s financial planning tools to help clients understand what they need to do to reach their goals and to encourage them to act on your recommendations.

      • Proactively identify opportunities to grow the business.

       

      Example of Key Accountabilities #2

      • Establish regularly scheduled contacts with clients to establish relationships that will identify clients' needs.

      • Keep files on client relationships that include client's financial goals and plan of action to assist the member/client in meeting those goals.

      • Manage assigned member portfolio jointly with other internal specialists.

      • Provide financial advice using some financial planning tools (e.g. cash-flow and credit management).

      • Act as a mentor for less experienced staff under the guidance of the Branch Manager.

      • Act as the branch centre of expertise on the use of financial calculators, complex credit and managed portfolio solutions.

      • Maintain strong relationships with alliance partners.

      • Deal with referrals when deemed necessary based on the complexity of the clients’ requests.

       

      Example of Key Accountabilities #3

      • Engage customers in complete, needs based conversations to simplify the complex.

      • Understand our customers’ needs and guide them with the right options and solutions.

      • Complete applications and close sales as part of customer interaction.

      • Document identified opportunities, and changes to customer situations and potential needs.

      • Walk the floor: spend a minimum of one hour per week walking the branch floor to engage customers and look for opportunities to book appointments.

      • Proactively contact customers: make out-bound calls from leads and multiple customer databases.

      • Attend and actively contribute to daily and weekly branch meetings.

      • Meet with Customer Service Representatives to collaboratively look for opportunities to fill appointment calendar for the week.

      • Meet with partners to discuss appointments and cross-referral opportunities.

       

      Example of Key Accountabilities #4

      • Engage customers in complete needs-based conversations to simplify the complex, understand our customers’ needs, and guide them with the right options and solutions.

      • Complete applications and close sales as part of customer interaction.

      • Document identified opportunities, and changes to customer situations and potential needs.

      • Walk the floor: spend a minimum of one hour per week walking the branch floor to engage customers and look for opportunities to book appointments.

      • Proactively contact customers: make out-bound calls from leads and multiple customer databases.

      • Attend and actively contribute to daily and weekly branch meetings.

      • Meet with Customer Service Representatives to collaboratively look for opportunities to fill appointment calendar for the week.

      • Meet with Branch Partners to discuss appointments and cross-referral opportunities.

       

    Direct support roles involve directly supporting the client-planner relationship in the delivery of personal financial planning services to a client, such as assisting or training roles.

      Example of Key Accountabilities #1

      • Provide investment advice to all existing and prospective non-discretionary clients over the phone and in meetings, including:
        • Gathering pertinent client information;
        • Analyzing this information to gain an understanding of the client objectives/constraints;
        • Using tools available to create an appropriate asset mix based on the client objectives/constraints;
        • Recommending an appropriate mix of funds, explaining the funds’ characteristics, how they differ from other funds, and why they are the most appropriate funds for the client; and
        • Assisting the client in implementing the strategy.

      • Assist clients in building portfolios by providing detailed information and comparisons of investment funds.

      • Take clients through a detailed profiling and needs assessment process in order to determine appropriate asset allocation.

      • Communicate the firm’s market commentaries, economic outlooks and asset mix strategies to clients and prospects.

      • Grow and develop the direct-to-investor distribution channel through proactive and reactive client contact and identifying latent needs in order to seize opportunities.

      • Provide information pertaining to a wide range of complex financial planning concepts to clients including estates, tax, retirement planning, investment strategies, etc.

      • Occasionally assist clients with on-line technical problems with accessing confidential client information on phn.com.

      • Accept client trades and instructions over the phone while ensuring these are consistent with client Investor Profile information.

      • Adhere to all compliance and regulatory requirements to the highest ethical standards.

      • Offer “value added” articles and pieces to clients and prospects.

      • Prepare, send and track investment policy statements, asset mix changes and confirmation letters.

      • Asset mix analysis and rebalancing for manager approval.

      • Research tax and financial planning issues and tax effective asset allocation and rebalancing

      • Execute allowable trades.

      • Prepare initial portrait files upon receipt of a completed questionnaire, to be finalized by the Advisor during client meetings.

      • New account presentations and prospect proposals.

      • Compile breakdown of externally held assets and generating overall asset mix.
      •  

      Example of Key Accountabilities #2

      • Assist in financial planning analysis.

      • Conduct research and provide findings related to cross border issues affecting the client’s financial plan.

      • Draft financial plans and memos based on the analysis and recommendations to clients from the Firm’s Principal and CEO.

      • Assist in the implementation and monitoring of financial plans.

      • Proactively follow-up with clientele to address their questions and concerns regarding their financial plan.

      • Work collaboratively with other colleagues and professionals to ensure clients experience exceptional service and have all of their financial needs met.

       

      Example of Key Accountabilities #3

      • Process insurance applications, and case preparations, and provide ongoing service to the firm’s Financial Advisors and clients.

      • Produce financial plans and prepare insurance solutions under supervision.

      • Provide detailed marketing support using financial planning and insurance concepts and illustration software.

      • Coordinate and develop ongoing training, communication and support for Financial Planning Services.

      • Forward new sales opportunities and build relationships both internally and externally.

      • Create and follow up on opportunities for insurance and financial planning, and act as liaison between partners and Financial Advisors.

      • Maintain a high level of partnership, knowledge and professionalism to promote planning to our network of high net worth clients.

      • Manage all work flow, filing, correspondence, systems and maintenance of client files, software and marketing materials.

       

      Example of Key Accountabilities #4

      • Support the financial planner with analytics, research and report preparation.

      • Client communications and follow up: Provide client support and maintain positive relationships including follow-up with requests, tasks and analysis, ensuring professionalism and discretion.

      • Client Service support: Prepare meeting agendas (word, PPT) as directed to include Full Financial Plan and corresponding follow up service in areas of cash management, tax, and estate.

      • Business processing lead: complete paperwork, process and manage to completion; track and keep track of all records and follow up (as it relates to money and insurance products).

      • Maintain general office functions and coordinated support services (telephone and computer systems, website updates as directed).

       

      Example of Key Accountabilities #5

      • Working on a team under the direction of a Senior Consultant, the Assistant is responsible for providing support to High Net Worth clients.

      • Prepare comprehensive financial plans.

      • Participate in client meetings with a Senior Consultant.

      • Prepare income tax returns.

      • Provide thorough assistance to a Senior Consultant.

       

      Example of Key Accountabilities #6

      • Financial Planning Tools Support: Assist the various sales forces in using the corporate approved financial advice and planning tools to respond to client queries, uncover hidden assets, retain business, and develop referrals.

      • Testing: Conduct Quality Assurance and User Acceptance Testing of updated or newly created tools that are developed internally or purchased from external vendors.

      • Coaching: Provide ongoing coaching to users directly or by referring them to job aids and other resource material.

      • Documentation: Create and update user guides, job aids and other resources; assist in ensuring that financial advice and planning tools reports, questionnaires and marketing materials are updated on a regular basis and develop new documents as required.

      • Training: Working with Learning Services groups to contribute to the development and updates of training programs and supporting material.

       

      Example of Key Accountabilities #7

      • Deliver and manage advisory programs.

      • Provide facilitation, classroom instruction, conference calls and webinar training as required to new and existing learners.

      • Deliver web-based learning.

      • Provide pre-program support to learners and their leaders with program expectations, learning curriculum, progress and coaching as required.

      • Provide ongoing learning support to employees for advisory learning programs.

      • Adhere to the compliance and regulatory requirements for training MFDA and IIROC-licensed employees.

      • Be accountable for the accuracy, relevance, effectiveness and appropriateness of content developed and delivered within all advisory learning programs.

      • Design and develop high quality content to enhance advisor capability.

      • Build and maintain an inventory of advisor-friendly resources and tools, including advisor reference guides, newsletters, technical papers, articles, process maps, helpful hints, best practices and FAQs.

      • Review and update learning materials with time-sensitive data prior to each program to ensure accuracy of materials.

      • On an ongoing basis, monitor program content to ensure that it is consistent with the objectives of the business, identify opportunities or requirements for enhancement/adjustment.

      • Proactively and on an ongoing basis, identify opportunities for program enhancements, revamps and continuous improvements; and advocate for, propose and implement plans for delivering on these changes.

      • Participate actively in the validation, piloting and finalizing of content enhancements and updates.

      • Be the subject matter expert for advisory programs and for any and all platforms and applications used by the advisor community.

      • Provide in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of the relevant business, including products, policies, practices, systems and procedures.

      • Support committees and initiatives as required.

      • Remain current with business developments, learning trends and organizational shifts.

      • Keep current on all issues concerning MFDA and IIROC regulations and other education requirements relative to programs.

      • Meet measurement benchmarks that are set out.

      • Support builds of new measurement approaches or enhance existing approach.

      • Evaluate results and make changes/enhancements as appropriate.

       

    Supervisory roles involve the supervision of financial planners who deliver personal financial planning services to a client, such as a sales manager or coaching role.

      Example of Key Accountabilities #1

      • Attract and recruit new and experienced financial advisors

      • Conduct career recruiting seminars to potential Associates

      • Provide coaching and training to Associates

      • Involvement in case analysis

      • Assist Associates in prospecting, product knowledge and case closing

       

      Example of Key Accountabilities #2

      • Manage the Advisor Team, consisting of both in-office and external in order to ensure growth goals are accomplished.

      • Provide ongoing guidance and mentoring to meet and exceed department goals on a timely basis.

      • Act as a technical resource on life and health insurance products and positioning relative to the clients’ needs and the competitive environment.

      • Lead, supervise and monitor Advisors’ sales and advice activities, providing timely performance appraisals and constructive feedback.

      • Assist in the training of other staff and business partners in order to help them better understand the organization’s insurance offerings and solutions.

      • Coordinate, attend and participate in regular Advisor Team meetings to make sure that concerns and issues are addressed and escalated as appropriate.

      • Ensure the Advisor Team understands and follows compliance and regulatory requirements, processes, sales tools and techniques. Monitor all activities and ensure compliance and adherence to all industry and organization policies and procedures, as well as functional effectiveness of business.

      • Provide case assistance by reviewing sales files with each team member, providing guidance on how to identify sales opportunities, and attending sales calls with advisors to review sales techniques.

      • Assist director in providing feedback and coaching to Advisor Team to deliver exemplary performance in sales, advice, service and compliance.

      • Constantly monitor activity and sales results in order to identify trends. Track and monitor departmental and individual goals and accomplishments.

      • Increase effectiveness of the advisor staff and sales tools by recognizing opportunities for development and proactively recommending new systems, processes and structures

      • Identify process improvements and/or modifications to achieve desired objectives;

      • Administer weekly and monthly activity and sales reports by collecting and inputting data and submitting to director; and

      • Perform other duties as assigned or requested by director.

       

    Teaching roles involve teaching courses in personal financial planning at a post-secondary level. Teaching experience may qualify for a maximum of two years of financial planning work experience.

      Example of Key Accountabilities #1

      • Teach a range of courses including Financial Management, Risk Management, Tax Planning and Investments to students in our Business Administration program(s) in the Faculty of Business

      • Ensure that program and course curricula are current, relevant and reflective of best practices within the relevant professional/program disciplines;

      • Define, evaluate and validate learning outcomes for courses and programs;

      • Create an effective environment for learning which accommodates students' diverse cultural and educational backgrounds, experiences and individual learning styles;

      • Design appropriate strategies and tools for facilitating and assessing student learning that are invitational and reflective of best practices in teaching and learning;

      • Develop appropriate strategies and tools to assess student performance that are consistent with the learning outcomes of the course and address multiple learning styles; and

      • Develop multi-media materials and alternative delivery strategies, and incorporate appropriate educational technologies into the learning process.