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Consumers are currently facing many challenges managing their personal finances. Responsibility for retirement planning is shifting from the government and employers to the individual. Job security are no longer guaranteed, the variety and complexity of financial products is increasing, and the Asian crisis combined with volatile global stock markets have left many consumers feeling confused. The need for professional advice in such an atmosphere is great, but greater still is consumers' need for assurance that the professionals they choose for financial advice are qualified and competent.
As consumer demand for qualified advice grows, the field of financial planning, in which poor performance on the part of the practitioner can lead to significant harm to the consumer, must embrace professional certification if it is to be taken seriously as a profession. Professional certification connotes competency, occupational experience, and adherence to standards of practice.
For consumers to accept financial planning practitioners as qualified, trustworthy professionals, they must be provided with an easily-identifiable, objective means of measuring the practitioners' experience, education, professional competence and ethical standards. The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification process serves that purpose by defining what a financial planning professional is, establishing standards of professional practice and creating a "mark of quality" that consumers can recognise and to which practitioners can aspire.
FPAS will therefore seek to provide the certification framework for the financial planning industry in Singapore. FPAS will oversee the administration of the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM and Associate Financial Planner certification process, and grant to qualified individuals the right to use the CFP® and AFPCM marks.
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM or CFP® certification will be gained by certain individuals who have demonstrated technical competency, combined significant practical experience, enabling them to write (to international standards) a comprehensive and detailed financial plan for an individual.