Some May Seek CFP Certification Sooner, Due to Added Course Requirement

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If you've set your sights on becoming a Certified Financial Planner but have been putting it off, now may be a good time to make a move. That's because it may soon become tougher to earn the CFP designation, reports Registered Rep.

Earlier in March the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards signed off on a new requirement that adds a 45-hour study course to the curriculum, starting in 2012. There are approximately 61,000 accredited Certified Financial Planners in North America.

"Through this new course requirement, future CFP professionals will have proven their ability to apply the financial planning process to real-life situations as well as their ability to communicate their planning recommendations to a client." Kevin Keller, the standards board's executive director, told Registered Rep." "The vast majority of those who submitted public comments on the board's Web site last year agreed."

But the leading vendors of CFP training programs hold a different view. Jeffrey Mershon, Kaplan Schweser's chair for financial planning, told Registered Rep the new measures would raise the cost of pre-CFP education by 30 percent, or about $1,000 per student. Others argue the new coursework is unnecessary because many professionals are already performing the responsibilities of a financial planner in their current job.

Not surprisingly, the next two years could see a surge in registration for the CFP exam. That was the case when the board instituted a bachelor's degree requirement in 2007.

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