Thursday, April 4, 2013

Financial Planning Certification Teaches Critical Skills

Although Centennial College’s Financial Planning program only takes two semesters to complete, graduates have the ability to: integrate ethical decision-making processes into all aspects of the financial planning profession; successfully adhere to recognized financial planning principles and industry standards; prepare accurate and relevant financial plans, manually and electronically; compare, contrast and select financial products and services, offer investment planning and counselling services for clients, while adhering to industry standards; effectively market financial products through the development of an inventory of prospective clients, follow up with individual sales strategies in pursuit of new and renewal business; recognize potential tax and legal implications within a financial planning situation; and more.

This amount of knowledge is obtained thanks to an intense curriculum that not only sees students graduate with an Ontario College Graduate Certificate but also provides them with the opportunity to a range of accreditations aside from their financial planning certificate. First, students obtain educational requirements to challenge the CFP exam and to be fully licensed with IDA/ MFDA. Accreditations gained as a result of successful completion of courses and industry exams include: Canadian Securities Course, Conduct and Practices Handbook Course, and Wealth Management Essentials. Meanwhile, designations and licenses that can be obtained as a result of completing preparatory courses and successfully writing the industry exams include: Certified Financial Planner and Life Licensing Qualification Program. Registration in this incurs cost in addition to tuition.

The Financial Planning program curriculum covers a wide range of topics such as ethics and stakeholder management, crafting and executing strategy, CSC preparation, certified financial planner preparation, corporate credit management, financial management, marketing, retirement financial planning, estate planning and risk management, tax planning, and accounting for managerial decision making.
Because the Financial Planning certification is geared towards mature students, it targets those who have previous education in, ideally, financial services or, if not, have taken the Social Securities course. It will also benefit people who have worked in the financial services industry and are ready for advancement.

As such, those who are interested in applying to the Financial Planning program must submit an official transcript demonstrating proof of successful completion of a post-secondary advanced diploma or degree program. Applicants may also be required to complete an interview process and have their resume reviewed. English and math skills assessments may also be required.

A 2009 report by the Toronto Board of Trade states that, with demographic changes and the need for regulation and associated trained professional, there will be an increasing demand for graduates from programs such as this. As such, graduates of the Financial Planning program find work in areas associated with their studies and the CFP license with: banks, credit unions, financial planning companies, life insurance companies and mutual fund companies.

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