Blog | Education and Designations

What’s New – CFP® Designation Route Changes

Last month the newly renamed FP Canada (formerly Financial Planning Standards Council or FPSC) released a more detailed look at the changes coming to the CFP designation routes in 2020.

The biggest updates include the requirement of a post-secondary education, introduction of FP Canada-administered courses instead of the Capstone Course, and the replacement of the required FPSC Level 1® certification with the optional QUALIFIED ASSOCIATE FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation. You can check out a more detailed description of the new program at the FP Canada website here.

CFP professionals in good standing are not impacted by any of these changes. Students that have started their studies and do not plan to be done by the end of 2019 will have options to transition into a new designation route based on their completion of the current Core Curriculum, FPSC Level 1 Exam or CFP Exam. We recommend reviewing the transition options that are available on the FP Canada website here. We’re encouraging students that were planning to start their courses in spring 2019 to keep on that path and we’ll discuss what their route options will be going through the transition period.

Education providers, like BCC, will offer the new Core Curriculum and Advance Curriculum courses which cover the technical knowledge required by financial planners. Core Curriculum includes a lot of the foundational topics in the current program, with the addition of more personal financial planning and human behaviour. Advanced Curriculum focuses on the more complex areas such as business planning and estate freezes. BCC will continue to offer these programs through live instruction or support self-paced online courses; schedule and cost details will be released over the coming months.

Under the current designation path, all CFP professionals must go through the FPSC Level 1 exam and certification (or have an appropriate exemption). Starting in 2020, the FPSC Level 1 certification is replaced by the new QAFP certification and it is up to the candidate whether they’d like to earn this designation on the way to CFP certification, or bypass it completely. While becoming a QAFP professional does add an extra step, it is a great option for students looking to “lock in” their progress or that may be looking to take a bit of a break in their studies.

FP Canada is introducing the Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE) along with CFP and QAFP Professional Education Programs (PEP). These courses are currently being piloted with a group of students and we expect to get further details on the cost and delivery late summer/early fall 2019. We do know that the IPE and CFP PEP will together take about the same amount of time to complete as the Capstone Course, with the former being estimated at 3 hours and the latter at 110 hours.

Finally, starting in 2022, all new applicants for CFP or QAFP certification will need to meet a post-secondary education requirement. CFP professionals will be required to have a degree from an accredited university or college, while QAFP professionals will need a diploma. Candidates with over 15 years of work experience will have until 2024 to apply for an exemption from the post-secondary requirement. Professionals with a designation in good standing will not be impacted, so advisors that do not have a degree or diploma are recommended to get their studies underway sooner than later.

For questions or concerns, please contact Penny ( or Kelly (

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