How To Become A CFP – All You Need To Know About CFP Certification In India

How To Become a CFP?

Are you planning to become a CFP (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER) or just want to know about the Certification in India. Read on and we covered all the topics related to the CFP Certification and CFP Certification Program Training In India.

What is CFP Certification Program?

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM Certification is a mark of excellence granted to individuals who meet 4E Criteria.

  1. Education
  2. Examination                                     how to become a cfp in india
  3. Experience
  4. Ethics                                                                                                                                                                                                                             In India FPSB India (Financial Planning Standards Board India) authorises to use CFP, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER & CFP flame logo collectively known as CFP Marks after fulfilling the above 4E Criteria.  FPSB India is a licensing authority in India to authorise it’s usage in India. All these are owned outside india by FPSB Ltd, USA. In agreement with FPSB Ltd, FPSB India authorises its use. It is one of the highly accepted and recognised International Qualification in Financial Planning domain.

Out of more than 100000 CFP Professionals around the world, India has around 2000 CFP Certificants.

How To Register For CFP Certification With FPSBI?

As mentioned above, To be a CFP in India one must register with FPSB India. They conduct examinations for CFP in association with NSEIT (It is a division of National Stock Exchange which conducts online exams all over India).  Before registering for CFP Certification one must have a valid NCFM Id which can be created on nseindia website.

Keep soft copies of PAN Card and Passport size photograph ready before starting your registration process.  You need to upload these files.  Also details of education starting from SSC is required.  Once the details are completed, payment can be done online.  If you are paying by Demand Draft, enter the details of Draft like Number, date of Draft etc.,

After the process is completed, take a print out and send it along with self attested documents to FPSB India.  They usually approve it with in a  week time, provided all documents are in order.  After approval, one must wait at least 30 days to take their first exam out of exams 1-4.

Register For CFP Certification

Minimum Qualification To register for CFP Program is HSC.  But you need to be a graduate to become eligible for CFPCM

What are the Subjects / Modules / Exams Need To Become A CFP In India?

There are total 6 modules.  Click Each Tab below to read about the topics covered in the module.

For this module there is no separate exam.  But this is very important module to learn the basics.  More over in all exams from 1-4 there is 20% weightage for the topics from this module
It covers the topics related to Life and General insurance from the perspective of the individual.  It includes health insurance.  
It includes topics related to various retirement benefits, how to plan for retirement etc.,
Almost all the investment products available for investments including equities, mutual funds, small savings schemes etc., are covered in this module
This module deals with personal taxation and how to do estate planning
After passing all the exams from 1-4 one becomes eligible for appearing for this final exam. It is case study based and candidates are provided with probable case studies 1-2 weeks before their exam.  Out of these 2 case studies are given in the examination.

Exams 1-4 are considered as part of Education Criteria.  Exam 5 is considered as part of Examination Criteria.  One can take exam 1-4 in any order they prefer.

Eligibility For Challenge Status Program Of CFP

In order to encourage people with relevant experience in the financial services industry, challenge status program is offered in which a candidate can appear directly for exam 5.

Candidates with the following qualifications are considered for challenge status program

1 Chartered Accountant (CA) / Intermediate level from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)
2 Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) from CFA Institute, USA
3 Cost Accountant (ICWA) from the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI)
4 PhD./ M.Phil in Economics, Econometrics, Statistics, Commerce, Mathematics, Finance, Management, Financial Planning/ Advising, Investment (or any other similar discipline)
5 Post Graduate1 in Economics, Econometrics, Statistics, Commerce, Mathematics, Finance, Management2, Financial Planning/ Advising, Investment (or any other similar discipline)
6 LLB (Law) or equivalent
7 Licentiate/Associate/ Fellowship of Life Insurance from Insurance Institute of India
8 Actuary from Institute of Actuaries of India
9 Civil Service Examinations by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)3
10 Company Secretary from Institute of Company Secretaries of India.
11 Fellow, Financial Services Institute (FFSI) / Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI)from LOMA

To be eligible for CS Program one must be a graduate and must have 3 years pre experience in one or more financial planning components or 5 years experience in other financial services.

Experience Criteria Of CFP Certification

Experience is one of the four criteria, which are verified before a candidate is conferred CFPcertification. The experience is considered to be of essence as regards application of financial planning knowledge and skills in one or more of the eight competency profiles outlined under Financial Planning Curriculum Framework.

Regular path way students can fulfil experience criteria before or after passing the examinations.  For CSP (Challenge Status program) candidates prior experience of 3/5 years is required.  If a candidate have work experience in one or more of the financial planning components, 3 years experience is required.  If work is related to other financial services then 5 years experience is mandatory.

FPSB India shall scrutinize all the documents and vet the same before awarding the CFP certification or allowing a candidate to appear for through Challenge Status pathway.

Exam Pattern Of CFP Certification

All the exams (Exam 1-5) are of MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) screen based exams conducted on daily basis all over India.  Exams are conducted at NSE IT centers and one need to register for exams on nseindia.com website.  Results are display immediately after completing the examination.

  • Total Questions in Exam 1-4 : 77
  • Toal Marks: 150 (Consisting of 1Mark – 38, 2 Marks – 15, 3 Marks – 14 and 4 Marks – 10)
  • Exam 5 consists of 2 case studies
  • 15 Questions from each case study. Total Questions 30.
  • Total Marks for Exam 5: 100 (consisting of 2 Mark – 5, 3 Mark -4, 4 Mark – 2 and 5 Mark – 4).  This is for one case study.  Similar pattern for second case study too.

 

There is no negative marking for CFP Certification Examinations.  Pass Percent is 50

Role of Ethics In CFP Certification

Unlike in CFA Examination, where Ethics is a subject in the examination, On completion of the education, examination, and experience requirements, the candidate applying for CFP Certification has to sign ethics declaration.

Prior to certification, the candidates will be required to disclose past or pending litigation or agency proceedings, and to acknowledge the right of FPSB India to enforce its Professional Standards through its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. By fulfilling this requirement, the candidate demonstrates to the public that he/she has agreed to provide personal Financial Planning in the client’s best interest and to act in accordance with the highest ethical and professional standards for the practice of Financial Planning.

The Ethics & Professional Standards are enforced by FPSB India’s Board of Professional Review.

One need to sign declaration as a part of Ethics Criteria.

Difference Between CFP and AFP Certification In India

To start with both are awarded by FPSB India.  To be a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER one need to complete 4E Criteria as discussed above. It covers all 6 components of financial planning and is useful to candidates who are looking to offer complete financial planning services.

Associate Financial Planner (AFP) is suitable for candidates looking to offer product based advisory and specialized advisory services like insurance advisory, retirement advisory services etc.,  By passing relevant exam (any one exam) one can become AFP.  For example by passing exam 3 (Investment Planning), one can become AFP Certification (Investment Planning).

Registration Process is same for CFP and AFP. If planning to deal in a single service like insurance / retirement planning one can register for CFP Certification and complete relevant exam and become AFP

Validity, Renewal and CE Points for CFP Certification In India

Validity of Certification Marks is for 1 year.  After fulfilling 4E criteria one can become a CFP by paying a fee of 6000+GST as applicable.

One need to renew their Certification Marks before the validity period to continue using the same by paying annual fee of 6000+GST as applicable.

CE (Continuous Education) points is a requirement along with paying the required fee to get certificate renewed.  Being a profession with constant updates, new products, regulatory changes a CFP is expected to be updated with these provisions.  CE points are aimed to fulfil this purpose.  Minimum 15 CE Points are required for renewal of CFPCM.  These points can be accumulated by a number of ways.  They include writing articles in journal, passing NISM Certifications etc., The easiest being attempting quiz in the Financial Planning Journal of FPSB India.

CE Points can be accumulated over a period of 12 months. Each quiz in the FPSBI journal gets 4 points.

Regular path Way Vs Challenge Status Program? Which One To Prefer

This is the common question most people ask who are eligible for CSP (Challenge Status Program).  If one goes through the eligibility requirement for CSP Program there are many qualifications which are less relevant to the topics of CFP Program.  For Example an Intermediate level from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is eligible for CSP Program. But a candidate might not be aware of topics of the Certification Program other than taxation at the depth required.

Usually if one is not well versed with the topics of the program, better go through regular path way.  It helps to prepare for the program in a structured way by understanding all the topics and have a comprehensive understanding about all 6 financial planning components.  If a candidate is comfortable in all (or at least most) of the topics with required pre registration experience one can consider challenge status program.

In my understanding, if one is looking for a long term career in financial planning, regular pathway is better.

In my opinion, if one is looking for a long term career in financial planning, regular pathway is better. It gives better understanding of all the components of financial planning.

Self Study Mode or Training With Education Partner

As mentioned earlier, I had to register with a Education Partner although I completed my CFP Certification without attending classes (At that time there was no option for choosing self-study mode).

If a candidate is comfortable in practising on their own with proper planning for the exam, and circumstances like job, domestic compulsions does not allow, then self study mode can be considered.  It requires long preparation times and most people lose perseverance after failing in 1 or 2 exams.  They give up altogether with out continuing the program

Training with FPSB India Authorised Education Partner can give benefit of guidance from qualified CFP Professionals.  With structured program plan candidates can benefit and complete the program earlier.  One must remember, CFP Certification program is not an abstract theory but with real life situations (Its true for examinations too).  Experienced Trainers can help a lot with their experience in their fields of practice.

The obvious advantage is the interaction with other candidates.