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Noel Maye, CEO of the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB), speaks to Mint on the status of the CFP certification in India and the state of the financial planning profession. Edited excerpts:


What is the FPSB’s goal?

My organization is a global non-profit standard setting body. Our mission is to establish professional standards for financial planning and our vision is to basically have financial planning recognized as a professional practice that benefits consumers around the world. We hope to finish the year with about 200,000 certified financial planning professionals around the world and 2,300 in India.

So, India will have an opportunity of tremendous growth when we look at the size of the country’s population, and what’s ahead of us.

There was a local FPSB board, but currently you are directly present in India through your office.

There has basically been a development in the interest in financial planning in India for quite some time; for probably 15+ years. But in 2019, the global body took over direct administration of the programme, and we have been directly delivering that programme through the global entity since April 2019. We use the existing education providers, existing exam providers like the National Stock Exchange Academy and have added a few new ones as well.

Following the segment about the direct administration of the programme in India, there is the question of recognition by Sebi. So as far as we understand it, the CFP programme is recognized by Sebi, but CFP candidates have to repeat the course every three years. And there was a discussion between Sebi and you on this matter. Do you see any clarity on this?

To get CFP certification, you would have to do an education course, complete your exams, meet several years of experience, agree to abide by our code of ethics and then you obtain CFP certification.

To renew your CFP certification, you have to complete continuing professional development and requirements. That’s FPSB’s requirement for CFP certification. So, a re-examination requirement is not part of our global requirements. But what NISM has said is that for CFP certifications that an individual has used to obtain the investment adviser licence; those individuals will have to re-take an exam. So, CFP professionals in India using CFP certifications to get the investment adviser licence; they will have to be re-examined on every three-year cycle, to be compliant with the NISM accreditation.

What is the current state of the financial planning profession in India?

We should have by the end of this year about 2,300 CFP professionals in India, and we have about 1,500 students in our programme. We have something in the range of 600 people who have specialty credentials. We have 15 education providers who are delivering training to those looking to get into financial advice and financial planning, and then we have got this large and growing community of practitioners and their employers who are coming around the concept. We are working with groups such as ARIA (Association of Registered Investment Advisors), Network FP, FIFA (Foundation of Independent Financial Advisors) and lots of the associations who are putting on conferences to try and move our developed capacity among those who are already in the financial services marketplace.

India is moving in the right direction; one of the things we are looking to do as FPSB is to make sure that we can bring the learning and the ideas from the US, from Canada, from South Africa, into India.

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