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Business News/ Money / Personal Finance/  India  has just around 2,000 certified financial planners: Rajesh Krishnamoorthy

India  has just around 2,000 certified financial planners: Rajesh Krishnamoorthy

Rajesh Krishnamoorthy speaks on the path ahead for the certified financial planner (CFP) programme in India, and the need for quality financial planning

Rajesh Krishnamoorthy India head, Financial Planning Standards BoardPremium
Rajesh Krishnamoorthy India head, Financial Planning Standards Board

Rajesh Krishnamoorthy recently took over as country head of the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) Ltd’s India liaison office.

Krishnamoorthy speaks to Mint on the path ahead for the certified financial planner (CFP) programme in India, and the need for quality financial planning. Edited excerpts:

Is there a need for quality financial planning in India?

Absolutely yes. The unfortunate reality is that by the time we regret bad financial decisions, we equally wish we had the right guidance when we originally made those decisions. Let me share our vision, which is to benefit the global community by establishing, upholding and promoting worldwide professional standards in financial planning. Our commitment to excellence is represented by the marks of professional distinction—CFP.

How does India compare globally?

For a country as huge as ours, as we speak today, there are just around 1,400 Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India)-registered investment advisers and around 2,000 CFP professionals in India. China has more than 11 times our number and a smaller nation like Indonesia has almost as many CFP professionals. While these comparisons provide a perspective of country-to-country comparison, let us also look at the present situation that you and me as individuals are living in. These are unprecedented times of challenge for the entire human race, and it also brings with it financial challenges that we never envisaged. Very clearly, we have a responsibility to our families and ourselves to take the right financial decisions, and it probably is not easy for us to do it all without, say, a financial coach, or a financial advisor. I see that ethical and purpose-driven professionals have a huge potential to fill this gap, and we at FPSB can do our bit in bringing quality financial planning professionals to serve our public at large.

Is the FPSB India programme recognized internationally? Two years ago, the US board withdrew the FSPB licence from the Indian body. Didn’t it?

Effective 1 April 2019, FPSB Ltd, owner of the international FCP certification programme outside the United States, has taken over the administration of India’s CFP certification programme. From that date and forward, all matters and inquiries pertaining to India’s CFP certification programme have been addressed directly by us. I am delighted to share that FPSB has since received the approval from RBI (Reserve Bank of India) to have its liaison office in India, and I oversee this office. The CFP credential is the most desired and respected global certification for those seeking to demonstrate their commitment to competent and ethical financial planning practice.

Could you share more details of the CFP certification?

FPSB has restructured the content of the education requirement for CFP certification in India into three specialist education courses (investment planning specialist; retirement and tax planning; and risk and estate planning) and a financial planning capstone course. Delivered through FPSB’s online learning portal, the new courses consist of textbooks with global and India-specific content, interactive modules and practice questions, and can be taken through self-study or through one of FPSB’s authorized education providers. Even exams can be taken through online proctored mode from the comfort of your home or through the nationwide network of physical test centres run by NSE Academy Ltd.

What does it cost to do this course, and how long does it take?

Registrations for the FPSB investment planning specialist, FPSB retirement and tax planning specialist and FPSB risk and estate planning specialist courses are open. While it is difficult to predict the time taken to complete the CFP certification at an individual level, my sense is that for students, they can complete it along with their graduation/post-graduation course.

Working professionals, if they dedicate their weekends to the study, could even do it faster.

The overall programme from registration leading up to CFP certification costs $465 and can be lower if the student wants to only do one or more of the specialist certifications. I would encourage the readers to visit to get all the relevant details.

Does CFP certification exempt you from the National Institute of Securities Markets exams to become a Sebi-registered investment adviser?

Yes. As per the Sebi Investment Advisor Regulations, 2013, the certification requirement can be met by either doing the NISM XA, XB exams or any other NISM accredited certification. I am very happy to share with you that NISM approved FPSB’s application and accredited the CFP certification program in India from 1 March 2021 until 28 February 2022, after which the accreditation is eligible to be renewed for two more years, subject to programme monitoring and approval by NISM. CFP professionals, toward the criteria of renewal, must complete and report 15 continuing education points on a per annum basis prior to such renewal becoming due. In addition, CFP professionals who wish to renew their existing RIA licence under the Sebi (Investment Advisers) Regulations, 2013, must, in accordance with NISM accreditation criteria, pass all three pathway exams and the CFP certification exam again, or the NISM investment adviser exam prior to such renewal becoming due but at least once every three years.

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Neil Borate
I head the personal finance team at Mint. I have been writing about personal finance for the past 8 years after finishing two degrees in law and economics respectively. I do what I do, to help the ordinary Indian saver and investor.
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Published: 25 Mar 2021, 05:27 AM IST
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