Rick Nelson

Financial planners deal with one of the most personal and sensitive aspects of people's lives: their financial security. As a result, trust is at the heart of the financial planning relationship - trust in the planner's competence, integrity and objectivity, and trust that the planner will act first and foremost in your best interest.

This Question and answer FAQ answers some frequently asked questions about financial planners and financial planning. It is meant to help you make the decision about using a financial planner and describes the high standards of conduct you can expect from a Certified Financial Planner™

Q. What do the letters "CFP" mean?

A. The letters "CFP" stand for Certified Financial Planner™. The CFP™ registered certification marks identify individuals who are dedicated to a high level of professionalism in providing financial planning advice. The CFP credentials assure you that the individual using them has agreed to adhere to the highest internationally recognized standards of competence and ethical practice as set out by Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC).

Q. Who can use the Certified Financial Planner or CFP credential?

A. Only individuals who have met FPSC's rigorous pre- and post-certification standards and continue to meet FPSC's annual licensing requirements are entitled to use Certified Financial Planner, CFP or the CFP logo displayed on the top left corner of this page.

Q. Why is it important to deal with a CFP licensee?

A. Individuals who wish to attain the CFP designation must meet education, examination, experience and ethical requirements set by FPSC. These requirements are more fully outlined below: Education Successful completion of an approved educational program. Fulfilment of annual continuing education requirements to keep abreast of planning strategies and financial trends. Experience A minimum of two years' work experience in a financial planning related position. Examination Successful completion of a rigorous examination that covers the financial planning process, income tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, investment planning, family law, risk management, general principles including the Code of Ethics, and small business applications in financial planning. Ethics Adherence to a professional Code of Ethics that requires all CFP licensees to act in an ethical and professionally responsible manner in all professional services and activities.




Q. How do I know I if my financial planner is a CFP licensee?

A. Look for the CFP certification marks: our logo (pictured at top left), the initials CFP or the words Certified Financial Planner. You can also ask to see the planner's current wallet-size CFP licence or consult CFP Licensee in Good Standing page or contact us by e-mail or use our toll free phone number 1.800.305.9886 to verify a planner's status as a CFP licensee. Only FPSC can authorize an individual to use the CFP marks.

Q. What standards guide the professional conduct of a CFP licensee?

A. CFP licensees must follow a professional Code of Ethics (Code of Ethics). The Code is designed to better serve you, the consumer, by requiring disclosure of pertinent information about a CFP licensee and describing the behaviour you should expect from your planner. A CFP licensee is obliged to place the client's best interest first. He or she must disclose relevant information that might affect the financial planning relationship, such as sources of compensation including fees or commissions, and any potential conflicts of interest that might compromise the planner's objectivity.

Q. Does FPSC accept complaints against CFP licensees?

A. FPSC will respond to alleged violations of the Code of Ethics brought to its attention in writing. If a CFP licensee fails to meet the high standards of the Code of Ethics, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken by FPSC. The most severe of these actions is the revocation of the CFP licence.

Q. How do I find a CFP licensee?

A. CFP licensees work in credit unions, brokerage firms, insurance companies, mutual fund groups, banks, small and large financial services businesses and for themselves. Many are listed in our Find a Planner database. Consult it to begin your search for planners best qualified to help you with personal or business finance issues.

Q. Are CFP licensees found only in Canada?

A. The CFP is an internationally recognized designation held by over 62,000 people licensed to use the credentials by organizations in 15 countries around the world. The International CFP Council, of which FPSC is the second largest member having licensed more than 13,000 individuals in Canada, is comprised of organizations dedicated to benefiting the global community by establishing, maintaining and promoting the professional standards in financial planning represented by the CFP certification marks.


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The Gerald Flaherty Agency
111 Charles St. Hamilton. Ontario L8P 3E4
Ph: (905) 525 4255, Fax: (905) 525 4294

website updated April 10, 2018