FP Canada announced July 13 that it is dropping the requirement it has for Qualified Associate Financial Planner (QAFP) certificate holders to also hold a post-secondary diploma prior to being certified.

“The change makes the financial planning profession more accessible to a larger pool of potential planners. It also reflects FP Canada’ commitment to helping more Canadians get financial advice,” the professional oversight organization stated in its announcement about the change.

Beginning in April 2024, individuals may challenge the QAFP exam and become certified if they have five years of qualifying work experience and complete requisite coursework.

“Historically, applicants for QAFP certification have been required to hold a two-year college diploma and have one year of qualifying work experience,” they add. “In contrast the upcoming change will allow candidates with significant relevant experience to earn QAFP certification without a diploma.” 

In its place, in addition to having sufficient work experience and passing the exam, applicants must also complete the QAFP Professional Education Program and either the FP Canada Institute Technical Education Fundamentals course or another FP Canada-approved core curriculum program.

“For those who have proven their ability to meet the demands of the profession, we’re excited to offer a new path to certification,” says FP Canada’s president and CEO, Tashia Batstone.

FP Canada also announced the results of the June sitting of the QAFP exam. All told, 56 candidates challenged the exam in June; the pass rate for first-time writers was 81 per cent. A survey of the candidates found that 58 per cent said title protection legislation was a factor motivating them to get certified; 26 per cent stated that their employer required them to earn certification. “QAFP certification has also been approved by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) as a valid credential for individuals using the financial planner title in Ontario,” they write. 

Of those who challenged the exam, 46 per cent chose to write the exam online while 54 per cent opted to write the exam in person. Once the exam is passed, to obtain certification, candidates must also complete the QAFP Professional Education Program within one year of achieving certification.