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FPSC Releases Groundbreaking Financial Planning Body of Knowledge

The Financial Planning Body of Knowledge (FP-BoK) along with newly revalidated FPSC Competency Profile, will further define the knowledge expected of CFP® professionals and FPSC Level 1® Certificants in Financial Planning

TORONTO, ON – September 12, 2017 – Today, Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) released the Financial Planning Body of Knowledge, an unprecedented authoritative compendium of all the detailed knowledge expected of a CFP professional and FPSC Level 1 certificant. Together with the revalidated FPSC Competency Profile, the FP-BoK serves to further define the knowledge and competencies expected of CFP professionals and FPSC Level 1 certificants in Canada, and the differences between the two.

FP-BoK: Clearly Delineating Knowledge Expectations between FPSC Certificants

The FP-BoK comprises 12 knowledge topics, each encompassing detailed statements of the knowledge expected of financial planning professionals in all financial planning areas, along with accompanying case studies that illustrate the application of knowledge in each topic.

The FP-BoK clearly distinguishes the knowledge expected of CFP professionals from that of FPSC Level 1 certificants. While both certifications draw from the same Body of Knowledge, the knowledge expectations for CFP professionals are broader, given that they must provide objective financial planning advice at the highest level of complexity required of the profession. Specifically, CFP professionals are expected to have greater depth of knowledge in areas including registered retirement plans, registered education and disability plans, taxation, insurance, and estate planning and legal aspects.

The FP-BoK will serve as a resource to educators in developing and delivering content that prepares the next generation of financial planners; to students as they pursue a career as a financial planner; and to financial services industry firms to provide clarity as to the knowledge they should expect from financial planning professionals they recruit or manage.

“The Financial Planning Body of Knowledge lays the foundation for more clearly defined and more consistent delivery of financial planning throughout the profession,” says FPSC President and CEO Cary List. “This comprehensive publication will serve to solidify the place of FPSC Level 1 certification and CFP certification as true professional credentials.”

The FP-BoK builds on the Canadian Financial Planning Definitions, Standards and Competencies, published in 2015, to define the scope and holistic nature of financial planning.

FPSC thanks the many pioneers who contributed to this initial publication. The FP-BoK was developed by experts from throughout the financial planning profession and related fields, including more than 80 practicing CFP professionals from across Canada. It underwent a rigorous review process―including input by CFP professionals, educators and a special Working Group―to ensure its relevance, clarity, comprehensiveness and currency.

The FP-BoK will be reviewed periodically by FPSC’s Standards Panel, an independent Panel made up of financial planners and members of the public.

Revalidated FPSC Competency Profile Includes Reframing of Professional Skills

The FPSC Competency Profile is based on FPSC’s comprehensive analysis of the financial planning profession. It defines the competency expectations of CFP professionals and FPSC Level 1 certificants and helps establish education, examination and Continuing Education requirements for each certification. FPSC also uses the Competency Profile as the basis for education program approvals.

Every five years, FPSC reviews, updates and validates the FPSC Competency Profile to ensure it remains relevant and appropriately represents the competencies and skills Canadians should be able to expect of their financial planner.

Version 3.0 of the Competency Profile includes changes made for clarity, consistency and comprehensiveness across all six financial planning areas, based on research, subject-matter expert consultation and feedback from a national survey of CFP professionals. The most significant changes are related to professional skills―non-technical skills that are fundamental to the financial planning profession―which were reframed to better reflect expectations in practice and to differentiate “professional skills” from “professional obligation” (as set out in the Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP Professionals and FPSC Level 1 Certificants in Financial Planning).

Version 3.0 of the Competency Profile is founded on the previous version, released by FPSC in 2011, as well as the global Financial Planner Competency Profile, released by Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. in 2015.

About Financial Planning Standards Council

As a professional standards-setting and certification body working in the public interest, FPSC’s purpose is to drive value and instill confidence in financial planning. FPSC ensures those it certifies―Certified Financial Planner® professionals and FPSC Level 1® Certificants in Financial Planning―meet appropriate standards of competence and professionalism through rigorous requirements of education, examination, experience and ethics. With FPSC’s formal partnership with the Institut québécois de planification financière (IQPF), which is the only organization authorized to certify Financial Planners in Québec, there are more than 23,500 Financial Planners in Canada who have met, and continue to meet, FPSC’s standards. More information is available at and

For more information, please contact:

Caroline Horcher

Manager, Public Affairs
Financial Planning Standards Council
416.593.8587, ext. 232 or 1.800.305.9886