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CFPs mull future of pinnacle mark

The head of Financial Advice NZ's committee overseeing CFP says, if CFPs aren't happy with the association controlling the mark, they can ask for change.

Friday, March 8th 2019, 6:00AM 4 Comments

Simon Hassan

The administration of the mark moved from IFA to Financial Advice NZ when the new association was formed. To retain their CFP credentials, advisers have to be a member of the association. There are currently about 285 CFPs in New Zealand.

But, because it has a much wider membership base than IFA, Financial Advice NZ has been asked how it will juggle the promotion of CFP with the need to promote its own quality mark, and its goal of boosting the visibility of financial advisers more generally.

Simon Hassan, who is chair of the Financial Advice NZ certification committee, which manages the CFP mark, said it was a tough balance for the association.

If CFPs felt they were not well represented, they had other options, he said. Control of the mark could be shifted if 10% requested a review by the Financial Planning Standards Board.

“It’s always been a possibility. The preference is to work with the parent body and do the best we can to have that succeed.”

He said the question of how Financial Advice NZ would promote its own quality mark was problematic for CFPs. “Having Financial Advice NZ holding the mark and trying to represent other kinds of advisers as well, you’ll always get jealousies that come out.”

The law and code of conduct encapsulated what it meant to be a professional anyway, he said, leaving a small amount of room for professional marks to carve out space. “The CFP is trying to have a higher qualification and so is the professional body.”

Adviser and CFP-holder Nigel Tate said transferring control was something that could be considered.

"I don’t feel at this stage that there is sufficient dissatisfaction for that to occur and it is unlikely for this to become clearer until well after the new code of professional conduct is installed and Financial Advice NZ has responded to it."

Stephen O'Connor, who has a long association with the Financial Planning Standard Board and is a director of Financial Advice New Zealand, said it was unlikely the FSPB would approve CFPs having their own body and there was no other logical place for the CFP mark to go.

The small number of CFPs in New Zealand would not have the resources to do the licence justice without a bigger association behind them, he said.

He said, with the number of Kiwi CFPs declining, something needed to be one to get more people to want to achieve it. "It's about building the pathway and we've got work to do around that."

CFP advisers could help, too, he said, by promoting the standard, and holding it up as a global mark of excellence.

Financial Advice NZ chief executive Katrina Shanks said, while the number of CFP-holders was down, there was an increasing number of people beginning the process to qualify. Twelve people were under way at present, she said.

She said the existence of AFA/RFA designations had reduced advisers' desire for a way to differentiate themselves, but in the new environment, where everyone would be classed as "financial advisers", there would be more demand for pinnacle marks.

Hassan agreed there was still demand for the CFP mark and that would strengthen in the coming years.

Financial Advice NZ could bolster the mark by opening it to people who were not members of the association, he said, or a new group could take over and do the same. “That would be a way of getting the numbers up.”

Tags: CFP Financial Advice New Zealand Simon Hassan

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Comments from our readers

On 8 March 2019 at 8:43 am smitty said:
Interesting that this has come out. I didn't realise about the 10% requirement. It's almost a warning shot, that if they dont get things right, then expect some form of rebellion. Perhaps the wrong choice of words saying rebellion, but good to see that it has been flagged. I wouldn't agree with jealousness comment, its more about the fact that a lot of holders haven't seen a lot of support for the mark, Always the comment that we can self promote. It then rankles when your chosen body comes out with a new mark that is being promoted as a "true mark" and is looking to launch and promote it. Lastly, Katrina, AFA/RFA designations? RFA is an acknowledgement that they have registered, it was never intended to be a title that could be used, and I'm sure the FMA came out very clearly stating you cannot use RFA as a title, though in practice, there seems to an abundance of this. The AFA designation has been around for quite some time, so the question is why have so few AFA's pursued a higher form of education, rather than the ticket to play the game? Perhaps it is because there is lack of recognition that CFP is where you need to head for Financial Planning?
On 8 March 2019 at 1:53 pm John Milner said:
As a holder of both CLU and CFP designations I find it ridiculous for our association to try to reinvent the wheel and offend those of us that have worked hard to earn our stripes.

The path ways to excellence are already in place but have never really been embraced as they are in both Australia and the USA. Instead of shooting for the stars they seem to be contented with the Bombay hills.

Please let’s not adopt “everyone’s a winner” in our industry. Who ever wants to aspire to average.
On 8 March 2019 at 4:27 pm Pragmatic said:
Last year I was attended the FPA Congress in Sydney. The presentations were all first rate and relevant to a wide and diverse audience of financial advisers. The thing that really stood out for me was how the FPA celebrated the CFP designation. Firstly by naming the 600 successful graduates in 2018, and then by having a series of awards recognising excellence within CFP studies. I'm aware that the FPA are active promoters of the CFP designation, which not only assists with building the profile but also motivates industry participants to study towards achieving the CFP status.

As with those who have worked hard to attain the CFP status, I would strongly encourage the industry to stand by a single designation - and actively promote this externally and within the industry. After all, if the industry body doesn't believe in being a CFP why should you?
On 14 March 2019 at 9:53 am Paul Sewell said:
Here is a novel approach, why don't we show some leadership and get in behind the success of Financial Advice New Zealand. We have a chance to help build a better future for New Zealanders and Financial Advice New Zealand is a professional association to assist with Standards, Advocacy and promotion. Get on the bus before it leaves you behind.

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