Press Release  Tuesday, Sep 21, 2021

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Professionals Rank Building Trust, Effective Client Communication Among Most Important Tasks In Global Study

Nearly 12,000 CFP Professionals Benchmark Practice of Financial Planning Worldwide, Validate FPSB’s Global Standards, and Guide CFP Certification Program Delivery

NEW YORK – 21 September, 2021 – Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd. (FPSB), owner of the international CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certification program outside the United States, recently completed its second global job analysis study, a landmark study on the current practice of financial planning. Survey results from 11,867 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professionals in 16 FPSB territories reveal the four most important skills for the practice of financial planning:

  • Building trust: Being able to show through words and actions a financial planner will be fair and professional when dealing with a client;
  • Effective communication: Being able to use active listening and non-verbal skills when engaging a client;
  • Professionalism: Being able to demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits; and
  • Regulatory compliance: Being able to understand and adhere to laws, regulations and corporate compliance policies.

“FPSB’s research shows that CFP professionals’ practices and principles align with the interests of clients, which should provide confidence to those seeking expert advice on their financial and life goals,” said FPSB CEO Noel Maye. “As FPSB works to benefit the public by establishing, upholding and promoting worldwide professional standards for financial planning, we are pleased that CFP professionals around the globe have embraced compliance, professionalism, effective communication and establishing relationships of trust when working with clients.”

The primary goal of FPSB’s Global Job Analysis Survey was to identify the applicability, importance and frequency of the tasks and skills required to practice financial planning. Using the research findings, FPSB has been able to validate the standards and requirements for the global CFP certification program and develop a global set of specifications to guide the development of CFP certification exams and education courses. Additionally, the study helps FPSB understand current practices and expectations within the financial planning profession, which will guide FPSB and its network organizations on their training, certification and professional development efforts.

During Q2 2021, FPSB and its network organizations in 16 territories administered a localized version of FPSB’s Financial Planner Job Analysis Questionnaire to 66,057 CFP professionals and received a total response rate of 18 percent, or 11,867 responses. The format for FPSB’s Job Analysis Questionnaire was based on FPSB’s Financial Planner Competency Profile, which was developed in 2009 and updated in 2015, and describes the abilities, skills, attitudes, judgments and knowledge that a financial planning professional draws on when working with clients in financial planning engagements. FPSB is developing territory-specific reports of the research findings and will produce a Global Job Analysis Study report early next year, the second time FPSB has completed such global research to provide a benchmark for understanding the practice of financial planning worldwide.

This year, in addition to evaluating the importance of technical skills such as critical thinking and financial needs analysis, FPSB tested the importance to the practice of financial planning of what might traditionally be considered “soft skills” (e.g., coaching, emotional intelligence, etc.). CFP professionals overwhelmingly responded that both technical and interpersonal skills were highly important to the practice of financial planning, demonstrating the increased emphasis being placed by the global CFP professional community on the human element of financial planning.

FPSB also evaluated the importance and frequency of tasks associated with the global financial planning process, updated by FPSB last year. While there were variances, CFP professionals across territories, demographic groups and practice types agreed on the importance of the tasks, with some tasks in the areas of tax and estate planning rated as less important, perhaps because CFP professionals typically work with or defer to other professionals for these activities.

The data provided by FPSB’s research will provide globally comparable information about the practices of CFP professionals around the world and highlight commonalities and differences in the practice of financial planning among FPSB territories. FPSB and FPSB’s network organizations will use the data collected and analyzed from the global job analysis research to: develop global and territory-specific CFP exam specifications; link pass/fail decisions for CFP certification exams to the job analysis data to confirm that individuals awarded CFP certification have been assessed for competency in the practice of financial planning; and guide the development of financial planning education content and training programs.

“As the global standard-setting body for the financial planning profession, FPSB’s standards must be valid, reliable and appropriate for current practice. We’re pleased to hear from CFP professionals globally that our standards are, and that we’re also on track to support future success,” said Paul Grimes, CFP, Chief Professionalism Officer at FPSB. “FPSB’s Global Job Analysis Study brings us closer to understanding how the job we do today compares to what we need to do in the future to continue to best serve our clients.”

About FPSB Ltd.

FPSB manages, develops and operates certification, education and related programs to benefit the global community by establishing, upholding and promoting worldwide professional standards in financial planning. FPSB demonstrates its commitment to excellence with the marks of professional distinction – CFP, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and CFP Logo Mark – which it owns outside the United States. FPSB and the FPSB global network administer CFP and other certification programs in the following 27 territories: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. At the end of 2020, there were 192,762 CFP professionals worldwide. For more, visit

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