CFP: Certified Financial Planner Course

9 minute read

At times we do witness people around us facing massive inconveniences in tackling their financial burdens. Well, it is absolutely cumbersome and quite frustrating at times to set proper financial strategies which could help us meet desirous goals. We have observed a number of businessmen whose failure gives credence to the fact that they have failed to meet all ethical and financial requirements. At the same time, there are successful people whose ethical standards, experience and financial strategies have helped them achieve the milestone. They professionally meet all the standards like a proper investment regulation etc, such professionals are duly recognised as Certified Financial Planners. In this blog, you will learn what CFP i.e. Certified Financial Planner course is all about and the prestigious universities offering this certified course. 

What is CFP?

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Certified Financial Planner or CFP certification is one of the prestigious and acclaimed certified courses and qualifications in the global financial community with more than 1,70,000 certificates enrolled. It is important to know that the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) is the prime and apex licensing body in India for CFP certification which has their tie-ups and agreements with FPSB Ltd, USA and Denver. It has an affiliation with more than 23 countries around the globe. If you are pursuing CFP course in India you are eligible to practice in any of the countries which are affiliated with FPSB. 

Note: CFP designation is majorly conferred by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in the US

Apart from that, CFP certification marks the excellence of those who meet the requirements in terms of proper financial management strategies, experience, education, ethics as well as examination. The course allows the students to build a promising career in the financial servicing industry. According to FPSB, financial planning is all about developing strategies to help individuals manage their finances in order to meet their life goals. These include analysing the client’s financial status, creating a financial plan and implementation for benefit.

Types of CFP Courses

Depending on the candidate’s qualifications and eligibility, there are two ways to pursue CFP certification: Regular Pathway and Challenge Status Pathway.

Typical Route
The usual Pathway is used by students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programmes to apply for CFP.
NSE examinations 1-4 must be passed by candidates.
Candidates who pass Exams 1, 2, 3, and 4 are qualified to sit for Exam 5, which is for Advanced Financial Planning.
Pathway for Challenge Status
Students simply need to pass the Advanced Financial Planning exam as their final exam to earn their CFP certification.
For the Challenge Status pathway, a candidate must have this relevant job experience before sitting Exam 5.

Who Can Pursue CFP Course?

Those who want to build a career in financial advisory services as well as in the finance sector can definitely opt for a CFP program. 

  • College student or a graduate can take this as a career. 
  • Individuals who have an interest in managing their own expenses and finances can opt CFP as their career, especially investment advisors. 
  • Housewives too can pursue this programme and know financial management strategies in-depth.
  • Working professionals can make most of it by getting the certified course handy. 

Note: Students often question if the CFP program is only for a financial planner? No, that’s not the case, CPA covers a wide range of professions in financial services and business that are recognised in the corporate world.

CFP Exam Pattern 

Before appearing for CFP, you need to know the examination pattern which can help you clear the examination. In the tabulation form, find the marks distribution in each of the exams. 

Question Type Total Number of QuestionsTotal Marks 
1 Mark3838
2 Mark1530 
3 Mark1442 
4 Mark1040 

Note: All the exam papers from 1 to 4 have MCQ pattern. The exam duration is 2 hours and there is no negative marking.

CFP Course Structure

Certified Financial Planner course modules and topics are promising in nature and aim to provide extensive information to learners in order to acquire in-depth knowledge pertaining to the subject matter. There are in total 5 exams for 6 modules with no separate exam for the first module. Its weightage is added to the remaining 5 modules (20% each). The list of the modules and their corresponding topics include:

Introduction to Financial PlanningFinancial Planning Process, Client Interactions, Time Value of Money Applications, Personal Financial Statements, Cash flow and Debt Management, Asset Acquisition, Education Planning, Risk Management, Investment Planning and Retirement Planning, Special Circumstances, Plan Integration, Ethics and Business aspects of Financial Planning, etc.
Risk Analysis & Insurance PlanningInsurance and Risk Analysis, Planning for Clients’ Exposures to Mortality, Health, Disability, Property, Liability, etc.
Retirement Planning & Employee BenefitsWealth Creation, Retirement Planning and Strategies for Clients, etc.
Investment PlanningInvestment Planning, Vehicles and Strategies, Regulation of an Investment Advisor, Application to Clients, etc.
Tax Planning & Estate PlanningConcepts that are relevant to the course.
Advanced Financial PlanningConstructing a comprehensive financial plan for the client.

The CFP syllabus includes the following component covering the fundamental concept of the program and their application in the real world. Have a look at the table given below:

Financial Planning Principles, Process and SkillsFinancial Planning Process; Financial Planning Practice and Ethics; Professional Skills; Regulatory, Economic and Political Environments affecting Personal Financial Planning; Law and Compliance; Time Value of Money; Client Characteristics; Client Risk Profile; Client Engagement and Communications; Critical Thinking.
Financial ManagementPrinciples of Financial Management; Personal and Small Business Balance Sheet (Net Worth Statement); Use and Non-use Assets; Cash Flow Statement; Budget Preparation and Management; Savings Analysis and Strategy; Emergency Fund; Credit and Debt Management; Financial Ratio Analysis; Specific Purpose Planning.
Tax Principles and OptimizationTaxation Principles; Tax Planning Objectives; Tax Planning Principles; Tax Planning Law and Policy; Tax Analysis and Calculations; Tax Planning Strategies; Tax Planning for Asset Location.
Investment Planning or Asset ManagementInvestment Principles; Investment Objectives, Constraints, Capacity and Suitability; Investment Time Horizon; Behavioural Finance; Asset Classes; Investment Theory; Performance Measurement; Asset Allocation and Performance; Investment Products – Evaluation, Selection and Monitoring.
Risk Management and Insurance PlanningRisk Management Principles; Insurance Planning Objectives; Analysis and Evaluation of Risk Exposures; Risk Strategies; Risk Management Products; Insurance Law and Claims Process; Product, Company and Adviser Selection and Due Diligence.
Retirement PlanningRetirement Principles & Objectives; Retirement Needs Analysis and Forecasts; Potential Sources of Retirement Income; Retirement Income and Withdrawal Projections and Strategies; Retirement Planning and Funding Products.
Estate Planning and Wealth TransferEstate Planning Principles & Objectives; Legal Related Issues; Asset Ownership and its Implications; Estate Planning Documents; Succession Planning; Special Family Situation; The Projected Financial Situation at Death; Estate Planning Strategies; Philanthropy and Charitable Giving; Management in the Event of Incapacity (i.e Living Estate Planning).
Integrated Financial PlanningClient Engagement, Communication and Financial Planning Process; Collection and Data; Attitudes, Goals and Objectives; Issues and Problems; Analysis; Strategies; Synthesis and Recommendations; Implementation; Periodic Review.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to opt for and complete the 6-module CFP certification, individuals need to fulfil the below-listed eligibility conditions:

Regular Pathway

  • The basic eligibility criteria are 12th pass from a recognised board. 
  • Candidates have to clear all the 5 papers which covers 6 different modules.

Challenge Status Pathway

  • Candidates who have an advanced level of qualification like CA/Intermediate level, CFA (US), ICWA, CAIIB, CS, LLB, PhD, MPhil, PG, Licentiate/Associate/ Fellowship of Life Insurance, Actuary, FFSI & FLMI from LOMA, UPSC exams are undoubtedly eligible for challenge status.
  • Applicants need to pass only 1 paper of Advanced Financial Planning. 

CFP Fee Details

Regular Pathway
Registration Fees with FPSB India₹11,540 (only valid for 1 year)
Exam 1 to 4 Fees₹4,130 (per exam per attempt)
Exam 5 Fees₹8,260 (per attempt)
CFPCM Certification Fees₹7,080 (to be renewed annually)
Challenge Status Pathway
Registration Fees with FPSB India₹29,955 (valid for 1 year, inclusive of initial CFP Certification Fees, Administration & Processing Fees)

Top Institutions in India for Certified Financial Planner

As India is one of the key countries affiliated with FPSB, it is obvious that there are prestigious universities in the country offering a fully-fledged certified course in CFP with lucrative career opportunities. Following is the list of popular institutes to pursue the course:

  • ISBM, Coimbatore
  • ISBM, Guwahati
  • ISBM, Patna
  • Indian School of Business Management & Administration, Raipur
  • Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi
  • International College of Financial Planning, Delhi

Top International Institutions for Certified Financial Planner

There are prestigious institutions across the globe offering an array of opportunities after the Certified Financial Planner course. Most of the universities abroad are equally offering an online program in CFP. The complete list of the best universities offering online CFP are:

Best Books for CFP

Secrets of the CFP Exam Study Guide: CFP Click Here to Buy!
CFP – All Modules Set Click Here to Buy!
The History of Financial Planning: The Transformation of Financial Services (Wiley Finance)Click Here to Buy!
CFP Board Financial Planning Competency HandbookClick Here to Buy!

Job Prospects

With the growing population of the country and the annual salaries that it draws, there is an ample need for financial planning. Due to this CFP professionals are seen working with individuals, corporate firms, banks, wealth management companies, insurance organisation and accounting firm on issues related to the following:

  • Retirement Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Tax Planning
  • Investment Planning
  • Insurance Planning
  • Financial Management (for various business sizes)
  • Trusts
  • Stockbroking
  • Debt and Risk Analysis

Thus, we can estimate the scope and career in Finance and Finance advisory services. A number of vibrant companies around the world recruiting certified CFP professionals are:

  • Acumen Wealth Advisors
  • Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd
  • SBI Funds Management Private Limited
  • Aditya Birla Financial Services Limited
  • Edelweiss Financial Services Limited
  • SBI Life Insurance Company Limited
  • Axis Bank Limited
  • HDFC Asset Management Company Limited
  • State Bank of India
  • Bajaj Capital Limited
  • ICICI Bank Limited
  • World Gold Council
  • Deutsche Bank AG
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited
  • Life Insurance Corporation of India

On lucrative job profiles like that of a Financial Analyst, Management Trainee, Management Trainee, Project Coordinator, Financial Managers, a certified CFP student can do wonders and bring an optimistic change in the finance sector. Moreover, the average salary of CFP is around ₹3.5 lakh per year in India.

Explore A Day in the Life of a CFP!

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How much does a CFP course cost?

CFP course costs between INR 40000 and 60,000. The CFP certification is for people who wish to become financial advisors and help people manage their money.

How do I become a certified financial planner?

Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) is the licensing body in India for CFP certification. You need to clear some examinations to get the CFP certification. There are 2 pathways to become a CFP – Challenge and Regular. A Regular candidate must be a 10th or 12th pass at the time of application. While a Challenge candidate must be a CA / Intermediate level, CFA (US), CAIIB, CS, LLB, PhD, M.Phil, PG or ICWA. They can also be Licentiate/Associate/ Fellowship of Life Insurance, Actuary(India), FFSI & FLMI from LOMA, Civil Service Exam by UPSC. Regular cadidates have to clear 5 exams to become a certified financial planner, whereas, challenge candidates have to clear only 1 exam.

How long does it take to become a CFP?

The CFP certification journey differs from candidate to candidate. Applicants that take the challenge route take much lesser time to get the certification as they have to clear only 1 exam. Whereas, applications from regular pathway take longer to clear 5 exams. As the CFP certification is based on your ability to clear the exam, there is no fixed timeline to it.

Is CFP or CFA better?

CFAs typically work more in the field of financial analytics and investing, while CFPs usually focus on financial planning with individual clients

Certainly, CFP course is striving to promote educational excellence in terms of financial management, ethics etc. The prestigious course is globally recognised and highly acclaimed at international fora other than India. Want to build a career in finance? Then you are one step closer to the right assistance at Leverage Edu where experts will take you through the steps in choosing the right course and university to pursue higher education abroad. 

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  1. CFP exam new pattern has introduced now before appearing for CFP exam one has to complete 3 specialist exam. This regular and challenge path has been replaced by new structure.

  1. CFP exam new pattern has introduced now before appearing for CFP exam one has to complete 3 specialist exam. This regular and challenge path has been replaced by new structure.