Educator Guidelines for FPSC-Approved Capstone Courses

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1 Educator Guidelines for FPSC-Approved Capstone Courses Version 4.0 April 2016

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS CFP Certification and the Capstone Course... 1 About CFP Certification... 1 The Path to CFP Certification... 2 CFP Professional Competency Profile... 2 FPSC s Objectives for the Capstone Course... 3 Requirements for an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course... 3 Key Requirements... 3 Learning Objectives... 4 Financial Plan Requirement... 4 Educational Outcomes for the Financial Plan Requirement... 5 Expectations for Student Response... 5 Model Financial Plan Structure... 6 Use of Financial Planning Software in FPSC s Financial Plan Requirement... 6 Financial Plan Recommendation... 6 FPSC Financial Planning Case Studies... 6 Academic Misconduct... 7 Application for FPSC Approval of a Capstone Course... 8 Section I General... 8 Section II Capstone Course Requirements... 8 Section III Capstone Course Information... 9 Section IV Captone Course Learning Objectives Section V Financial Plan Requirement FPSC Plan Requirement for Capstone Course Section VI Declaration Application Process Completing the Application Application Fee Submission of Application Form to FPSC Initial Review Detailed Review Renewal Process Annual Update Appendix A: Model Financial Plan Structure Section 1: Title Page Section 2: Summary of Goals, Needs and Recommendations Section 3: Personal Information and Financial Assumptions... 15

3 Section 4: Financial Management Section 5: Asset Management Section 6: Tax Planning Section 7: Retirement Planning Section 8: Risk Management Section 9: Estate Planning Section 10: Recommendations and Action Steps Section 11: Delivery Acknowledgment Section 12: Appendix... 19

4 CFP Certification and the Capstone Course The Capstone Course plays a critical role in the training and assessment of future CFP professionals. It is the course where students demonstrate their ability to integrate the financial planning areas, make financial planning recommendations and develop a comprehensive financial plan. While completion of an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course is not a requirement for FPSC Level 1 Certificants in Financial Planning, FPSC Level 1 certificants are encouraged to pursue the course, which will qualify for two years of Continuing Education (CE) credits. In this document, FPSC provides the parameters of the Capstone Course. These parameters ensure that all education providers maintain the required standards to qualify students to proceed to the next steps along the path to CFP certification. Education providers are encouraged to exceed these standards. About CFP Certification CFP certification, long considered the mark of the professional financial planner, provides confidence to Canadians that their financial planner has the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities and ethics for professional financial planning. There are approximately 17,000 CFP professionals across Canada, part of a global community of more than158,000 worldwide. CFP professionals demonstrate their financial planning competence through extensive education; a rigorous, comprehensive national examination process, continuous professional development requirements; and accountability to FPSC for ethical conduct, standards of practice and competence. Page 1

5 The Path to CFP Certification CFP Professional Competency Profile The foundation for the CFP certification program is the CFP Professional Competency Profile, which requires candidates to meet established standards in four key areas: education, examination, experience and ethics. The Competency Profile represents the complete set of financial planning competencies required of a CFP professional, establishing the distinct set of technical knowledge, skills and abilities required, and the specifics of what CFP professionals must be able to perform in practice. The Competency Profile provides a description of the abilities that a CFP professional must possess, representing not only the tasks, but also the job-related skills, knowledge, attitudes and judgments required for competent performance by individuals in the profession. The ability to integrate information across all areas of financial planning to meet the needs of the client, combined with adherence to rigorous professional standards, distinguishes a CFP professional from other providers of financial advice. These features are the foundation of the Competency Profile and its application. A thorough understanding of the Competency Profile is recommended prior to the development of the Capstone Course and completion of this application. The Competency Profile can act as a guide and framework in the development of the Capstone Course in order to ensure that, once they have successfully completed the course, students can demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities they will need to be prepared for real-world experiences as a professional financial planner. Education in the CFP Certification Program Education is a fundamental requirement for achieving CFP certification. Candidates for CFP certification must successfully complete a set of FPSC-Approved Core Curriculum courses and an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course in order to be eligible to write the examinations leading to CFP certification. Page 2

6 FPSC approves Capstone courses offered by accredited post-secondary educational institutions and organizations whose mandate is public education at a post-secondary level. The Core Curriculum program and Capstone Course are distinct and subject to a different set of guidelines and approval processes. An education provider may choose to offer one or both of these education components. Each education requirement is integral to eligibility for the examinations leading to CFP certification. FPSC s Objectives for the Capstone Course As the CFP certification program incorporates a competency-based approach, education providers are required to commit to incorporating a competency-based approach to learning within their courses. Unlike Core Curriculum courses, which focus on the competencies and underlying knowledge domains within a specific component of financial planning in isolation (e.g., investment planning or retirement planning), the Capstone Course s focus is the integration of fundamental financial planning practices and professional skills across all financial planning areas. The Educator Guidelines for FPSC-Approved Capstone Courses are designed to: Ensure that all aspects of the Competency Profile are covered through FPSC s education requirements, emphasizing areas that may not be fully covered in Core Curriculum courses such as fundamental financial planning practices, integration of financial planning areas, professional skills and ethical principles. Ensure an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course is competency-based and requires the demonstration of a broad range of competencies required of a CFP professional. Promote consistency of learning outcomes among the range of FPSC-approved education programs. Requirements for an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course Key Requirements FPSC has developed specific requirements for the Capstone Course to ensure that candidates for CFP certification develop the appropriate competencies for comprehensive financial planning. The focus of the course is on fundamental financial planning practices, professional skills, and integration of concepts and technical knowledge. Key requirements for an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course are: Achievement of Capstone Course learning objectives. Completion of an individual financial plan by each student, based on an FPSC Financial Planning Case Study. Educators wishing to offer an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course must demonstrate how their Capstone Course will meet these requirements. Page 3

7 Learning Objectives Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be able to: Apply and integrate technical knowledge gained from Core Curriculum courses (pre-requisite and co-requisite) in the identification and analysis of issues relating to personal financial planning. Collect all qualitative and quantitative information required to develop a financial plan. Evaluate client objectives, needs and values that have financial implications. Analyze and synthesize personal financial situations. Identify potential opportunities and constraints, assessing information to formulate strategies. Formulate and evaluate strategies to develop a financial plan. Prioritize and consolidate recommendations into a financial plan. Communicate information, ideas and concepts to clients and others in a written and oral manner that is understandable. In the process of completing the Capstone Course learning objectives, the student should also integrate the following objectives: Demonstrate ethical judgment in providing professional services. Assess the impact of economic, political and regulatory environments on financial situations. Demonstrate logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternatives or approaches to problems. Adhere to the FPSC Code of Ethics and the FPSC Financial Planning Practice Standards as they apply to financial planning. FPSC expects educators to adopt these learning objectives when developing their Capstone Course, however acknowledges that they may include ancillary objectives to meet their own requirements. The educator is required to demonstrate how the teaching and learning methodologies and the course assessments ensure that all Capstone Course learning objectives are met. Financial Plan Requirement The student s completion of an individual, comprehensive financial plan assures FPSC that Capstone Course graduates are able to analyze and synthesize information in a realistic financial planning scenario. It demonstrates that they can integrate information across all appropriate financial planning areas in order to make suitable recommendations. Developing and completing the plan reinforces the acquisition of competencies, skills, professional practices and technical knowledge. Presentation of the plan provides students with the opportunity to learn from peers and mentors, accept and learn from constructive assessment and feedback, practice how to defend one s recommendations, consider conflicting views on financial issues and apply professional skills. Completion of the financial plan by each student individually offers the educator a means to assess competency. The development of a financial plan is a critical learning assessment within a Capstone Course and FPSC has established minimum requirements for its completion. Education providers must uphold minimum educational standards for the financial plan requirement as outlined in the following criteria. Page 4

8 Educational Outcomes for the Financial Plan Requirement In an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course, the financial plan requirement will be based upon the following outcomes (as a minimum standard). Students must be able to: Apply the fundamental financial planning practices across the financial planning areas. Integrate the financial planning areas and clearly prioritize the components that may be most relevant given the client s unique circumstances. Make recommendations, supported by appropriate analysis and synthesis. Demonstrate appropriate professionals skills when creating and presenting financial plans. Criteria for the Financial Planning Case FPSC has established minimum standards to ensure consistency in the breadth and depth of the financial planning case study that serves as the foundation for the financial plan requirement: The case will present a true-to-life scenario of a client s position, consistent with relevant issues that would be seen in practice. The case will present facts relating to a minimum of four financial planning areas. At least two of these will be the focus of the issue. There will be sufficient data provided to address the major planning issue(s) of the case, as well as any other planning issues. The case will contain conflicting goals or complications. There will be more than one course of action that is appropriate for the client. The case scenario will present qualitative factors that will impact analyses and recommendations. The case will include key financial data to enable the preparation of a net worth statement and a cash flow statement. In some cases, these financial statements will be provided. The case will also provide other important financial information such as details concerning insurance policies, investment statements, pension plans and similar information sources. Expectations for Student Response Each student will prepare and submit a financial plan independently. The plan will be based on an FPSC Financial Planning Case Study. Students will be expected to complete qualitative and quantitative analyses to formulate strategies and support their recommendations. Students must be able to provide the rationale for issues they ranked as high in importance. Students will be required to validate assumptions included in the financial plan. Students will be expected to prioritize recommendations to cover various financial planning areas. Students will be expected to demonstrate the professional skills required in the CFP Professional Competency Profile. Students must be able to defend the approach and/or recommendations taken within the financial plan. The financial plan should be well presented and well articulated in a written report to the client. The financial plan must be a stand-alone document. It must clearly attribute the references for any research and assumptions that the student may have incorporated into the financial plan. The financial plan should be geared to the client s level of sophistication. The financial plan should be presented as a true client engagement. Students should apply the FPSC Financial Planning Practice Standards in preparing the plan. Page 5

9 Model Financial Plan Structure An example of a financial plan structure has been provided in the Appendix, including suggested details to be discussed in each section. The example is not meant to provide a definitive approach to developing a comprehensive financial plan. Rather, students are expected to create a plan structure based on individual judgment or as guided by the educator; similarly, they are expected to develop each section of the plan based on their own interpretation of the client data, their own assumptions and their own assessment of how the information should be analyzed, synthesized and presented in writing. Use of Financial Planning Software in FPSC s Financial Plan Requirement When completing the financial plan, FPSC allows the use of financial planning software only for the purposes of developing projections and analysis to support the financial planning strategies and recommendations. The student is responsible for understanding all calculations and must develop and present the financial planning analysis, strategies and recommendations in a written report independently. The student is prohibited from relying upon financial planning software for these purposes. As such, students must be able to explain and provide a rationale for all results/data within their financial plan. Financial Plan Recommendation Given the increasing importance of professional skills to success in practice, FPSC recommends that students have an opportunity to present a financial plan within the course. The intent is for students to demonstrate their understanding of the case, present their recommendations in a compelling way, defend their recommendations, learn through expert educator/mentor feedback and build overall competency. FPSC highly encourages educators to have their students present an oral defense of their plan to demonstrate their competence as it relates to their professional skills. FPSC Financial Planning Case Studies FPSC provides financial planning cases to help the educator incorporate a financial plan into the Capstone Course and to offer course registrants a national standard. The case studies, developed by professional case writers in consultation with practicing CFP professionals, are based upon real client situations and presented in a case study format. They are individually published in electronic format and students may purchase the cases directly through the FPSC website. Desk copies and instructor resources are available to FPSC-Approved Capstone Course instructors upon request. Key FPSC Information Accompanying the Case Materials The following FPSC documents are available on the FPSC website. This information is critical to guide both education and continuous learning. CFP Professional Competency Profile Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP Professionals and FPSC Level 1 Certificants in Financial Planning Canadian Financial Planning Definitions, Standards & Competencies Page 6

10 Case Use Requirements To ensure a standard of consistency in all Capstone Course offerings, educators must use at least one of the FPSC Financial Planning Case Studies to meet the financial plan requirement. Educators will determine which FPSC case best suits their learning situation. Alternatively, educators may choose to use all of the FPSC Financial Planning Case Studies in developing and delivering their course. They may also use additional cases to support the learning of their students. Educators may add information to the FPSC-approved cases to allow for a more detailed analysis of various financial planning components provided the new content is consistent in quality and purpose. Restrictions of Use Because of the necessity of securely managing the cases, use of one or more of the FPSC-Approved Financial Planning Cases Studies is restricted to an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course. Academic Misconduct FPSC is responsible for ensuring that all FPSC Level 1 certificants and all candidates for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certification, meet both the rigorous certification standards (including completion of the Capstone Course) and demonstrate high levels of professionalism including a willingness to abide by a Code of Ethics and professional standards. For this reason, where an Education Provider determines that a student has engaged in conduct which breaches the Education Provider s student code of ethics/code of conduct, FPSC would appreciate hearing from the Education Provider. If the Education Provider s privacy and disclosure policies permit, FPSC would appreciate receiving prompt notice of any findings of misconduct including disclosure of the name of the student together with copies of any documents relating to the determination that the student breached the code of ethics/conduct and the outcome. FPSC Level 1 certificants are bound by the Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP Professionals and FPSC Level 1 Certificants in Financial Planning, set and enforced by FPSC. The Standards define the ethical and professional responsibilities of CFP professionals and FPSC Level 1 certificants. Where an Education Provider becomes aware of information which raises a substantial question as to the honesty and/or trustworthiness of a FPSC Level 1 certificant, FPSC would appreciate receiving notice of such concerns. Similarly, FPSC would appreciate notice of any concerns the Education Provider may have regarding a FPSC Level 1 certificant s fitness for certification as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER. Reporting student misconduct to FPSC will assist FPSC in its efforts to guard the trust Canadians have placed in CFP professionals and FPSC Level 1 certificants. This trust in essential to ensuring that CFP certification remains the standard for financial planning in Canada. Working together to guard the trust Canadians place in the designation benefits certificants, education providers and all stakeholders. Page 7

11 Application for FPSC Approval of a Capstone Course Please refer to this section of the Guidelines for assistance in completing the Application for Approval of Capstone Course. It explains what information is required and will enable you to submit a complete and accurate application. To the extent possible, all of the required information must be included within the application form. Course outlines and similar documentation can be included as appendices. FPSC may request additional information if deemed necessary to assist in a thorough and objective review of the proposed Capstone Course. Section I General Education Provider Education Provider is the institution responsible for the development of the Capstone Course curriculum, the assessment of the students, and the maintenance of course relevancy and timeliness. It is also the institution that monitors the quality of the education and is responsible for the reporting liaison with FPSC regarding our educational requirements. Program Head Program Head refers to the person within the education provider listed above who is responsible for the development and assessment of the Capstone Course and who has the appropriate signing authority on behalf of the education provider. Chief Academic Officer/Dean Chief Academic Officer/Dean refers to the person within the education provider listed above who is responsible for the development and assessment of Capstone Course and who has the appropriate signing authority on behalf of the education provider. Contact for FPSC Contact for FPSC refers to the person whom FPSC representatives may contact with any questions about the Capstone Course or course-related communications. Contact for Students Contact for Students refers to the person whom existing or prospective students can contact with questions about the Capstone Course. Section II Capstone Course Requirements Part A Your Core Curriculum Program Information The Capstone Course is the culmination of the financial planning education requirements for CFP professionals. FPSC-Approved Core Curriculum courses will be referred to as pre-requisites or corequisites. Educators should ensure that all students have met these minimum requirements when registering for and completing an FPSC-Approved Capstone Course. An education provider may enroll students from each of its FPSC-Approved Core Curriculum programs, if more than one is offered. All of the programs/streams from which this Capstone Course can be accessed should be referenced in Part A Your Core Curriculum Program Information. Page 8

12 To respond to Part A, please indicate the program name, course titles and course codes for each program through which the Capstone Course is offered. If you are an FPSC-Approved Core Curriculum provider, this program information should be consistent with that included in the Application for Approval of Core Curriculum Courses on file with FPSC. Also, please indicate pre-requisite and co-requisite courses. As the Capstone Course integrates the competencies, skills and abilities across all financial planning areas, FPSC requires that the Core Curriculum courses are completed prior to, or concurrent with, the Capstone Course. FPSC may limit the number of courses that can be taken concurrently since the Capstone Course draws upon this prior knowledge. List all of the courses required for eligibility to the Capstone Course for each program in which it is offered, including the Core Curriculum courses. Indicate which courses are pre-requisites and which are co-requisites. Include additional information as appendices if necessary. Part B Students From Other Education Streams You may also enroll students from other FPSC-approved qualifying programs or candidates with relevant prior qualifications who qualify under the Routes to CFP Certification. Indicate this in Part B Students From Other Education Streams. Students who have not taken an FPSC-approved educational path may register in your Capstone Course, but the educator will be required to inform them that completion of the Capstone Course will not qualify as a requirement for CFP certification. Section III Capstone Course Information This section will provide information on your prospective FPSC-Approved Capstone Course. Recapping or reviewing coverage of the Core Curriculum should be confined to what is necessary to accomplish the course objectives. If requesting approval for more than one Capstone Course, where the content is substantially different in each, a separate Application for Approval of Capstone Courses must be submitted. If offering the same course to different student populations, one application is permissible with appropriate description provided. Course Name Provide the name assigned to the course, such as that which will appear in the academic calendar and/or academic transcript. If using the CFP marks or FPSC Level 1 certificant marks in the name of your course, program or course materials, refer to the Marks Use Guide for Education Providers. Course Code(s) Include the course code that is used by the education provider, i.e., the course code that would appear on a student s transcript. List all the course codes here. If the same course is offered within more than one program and is assigned to more than one course code, include all code references. Course Website Include the website that supports the course, if applicable. Course Description Provide a brief course description. Please include a course outline with your application. Was this course included as part of the Core Curriculum courses in your Application for Approval of Core Curriculum Program with FPSC?: If this course was included as a required course on your Application for Approval of Core Curriculum Program, please indicate so by selecting Yes. If it was not, select No. Page 9

13 Approval of your Core Curriculum courses filed with FPSC is based upon the bundle of courses included in each program at the time of application. The Capstone Course is a separate and distinct educational requirement; it should not be reported as a component of both the Core Curriculum and the course allocated to satisfy the Capstone Course requirement. If this course, or a similar course, was included in the Application of Approval of Core Curriculum, FPSC will require a clear explanation of how the content and course-related material will be dealt with in both the Core Curriculum and Capstone Course. We may revisit the Application for Approval of Core Curriculum courses to ensure that all Core Curriculum requirements are still met, even if the Capstone Course is effectively removed from the listing of Core Curriculum courses required. Course Delivery Provide details of the course delivery format, estimated in-class and study hours, as well as course duration. Although FPSC does not mandate specific course duration, as a minimum, the course should be equivalent to no less than a one-semester course (i.e., 38 to 42 in-class hours with approximately the same time assigned for out-of-class study time). An online self-study course would approximate the combined in-class lecture and discussion time and out-of-class assignment hours. If hours allocated are less than this target, educators will need to provide further detail on how they will cover all the content in the course. Instructors Individuals teaching should have appropriate educational qualifications, skills and professional experience to ensure that all learning outcomes are achievable for a diverse student population. Given the competency-based and integrative nature of the Capstone Course, the professional experience of the educator/subject matter expert will play a significant role. CFP professionals are preferred in this role because the Capstone Course focuses on the competencies and skills required in professional practice as a financial planner. Include the names and credentials of the educators who will teach the Capstone Course. Also include a resumé for each of the educators listed in this section to demonstrate the qualifications, skills and experience (both industry and academic) that each educator brings to his/her role. The documentation must indicate academic degrees, professional designations, specific industry training and licences. We understand that instructors may be replaced over time. Replacement faculty must have equivalent or greater expertise and such changes must be noted in the Annual Update (see below). You may have submitted documentation for instructors previously if they taught Core Curriculum courses. We request that you include a current copy with the Capstone Course application to ensure that we have the proper documentation for each application. Textbooks/Resource Materials The textbooks, articles, cases and other resource materials used in the Capstone Course provide insight into the depth and breadth of the planned course. They indicate the extent to which the course is focused on the application and integration of the competencies, skills and knowledge gained in the Core Curriculum courses. The materials used in the Capstone Course should reflect this focus and not duplicate the purpose of the Core Curriculum more than necessary to meet the Capstone Course objectives. Please list all key materials that you will use in the offering of this course, including the FPSC-Approved Financial Planning Case Studies. Additional materials listed may include, but are not limited to: your own developed content; practitioner-utilized software programs; professionally published educational publications, such as textbooks; and related learning, teaching, and assessment materials. FPSC Page 10

14 expects that all content within a Capstone Course is continually updated and kept relevant and that it reflects up-to-date financial planning issues. Course Evaluation An FPSC-Approved Capstone Course requires each individual student to complete a comprehensive written financial plan using one of the FPSC-Approved Financial Planning Case Studies. A specific weighting to the financial plan for the purposes of student evaluation is not strictly mandated, other than to state that it should represent a weighting of at least 25% and not more than 75%. The financial plan should be evaluated against the financial planning structure as laid out in FPSC s Model Financial Plan (See Appendix A). Please submit the rubric or any other scoring methodology used in evaluating the financial plan to FPSC as part of your application for approval. Educators are encouraged to incorporate a diverse set of evaluation methodologies into the course. In addition to the written financial plan requirements provide all other course evaluations (such as tests, assignments, case study work, presentations and final exam) and their relative weightings. Also in this section, describe the efforts made to identify and mitigate plagiarism and other academic offences within your student community. Authentication of individual work is essential for the financial plan requirement. Section IV Captone Course Learning Objectives To ensure readiness of students as future CFP professionals, FPSC has developed a set of Capstone Course learning objectives that will serve as the minimum standard for any FPSC-Approved Capstone Course. In this section, educators must indicate how they have met the Capstone Course learning objectives. Required Learning Objectives Indicate how your course will ensure students have met the Capstone Course learning objectives, including the learning activities they will engage in to do so and the methods that will be used to assess their completion of the objectives. Column A Describe the learning activities that students will engage in to satisfy FPSC's Capstone Course learning objectives. Column B Describe the methods that will be used to assess if students have met FPSC's Capstone Course learning objectives. Section V Financial Plan Requirement An FPSC-Approved Capstone Course must include the completion of a written, comprehensive financial plan using one of the FPSC Financial Planning Case Studies. Page 11

15 FPSC Plan Requirement for Capstone Course In this section, indicate the learning activities that students will engage in and how the educator will assess that the students have met the financial plan requirements. Please provide the rubric or other scoring methodology you use to assess students' written and oral financial plan presentations (if applicable). Section VI Declaration This section outlines the conditions for FPSC approval of a Capstone Course. It includes specifics regarding the term for which the approval is registered with FPSC and conditions for the use of the CFP marks. This section also includes an attestation that all of the information included in Sections I through V of the Application for Approval of Capstone Courses is complete, true and correct. This attestation should be signed by the Chief Academic Officer responsible for the program(s) in which the course will be offered. Upon submission of the Application for Approval of Capstone Courses, Section VI must be signed, dated and sent to FPSC by , fax or mail. Application Process Completing the Application Complete one Application for Approval of Capstone Courses (Sections I through VI) for each distinct Capstone Course. If the same course is available to students through more than one academic stream/program, it is considered to be one course for the purposes of this application process. If a similar, but different, course is available to students within more than one academic stream/program, separate applications for each course must be completed. This distinction is one of judgment. However, if the courses involve a different set of learning objectives, incorporate different learning activities and/or assessments or use different materials they would require separate applications. Include any supplementary materials that will support or provide additional information for the Capstone Course. Examples of supplementary materials requested include a course outline, resumés of educators and supplementary explanation/appendices that may have been created within the process of completing the application. Please label all additional files/documents appropriately. Ensure that all requirements have been met and that all course information has been provided before submitting the application. Incomplete applications will result in a delay in the application review and approval process. FPSC will provide an explanation when requesting missing information and the review will proceed when it is received. The completed Application for Approval of Capstone Courses must be certified for accuracy in Section VI Declaration and signed by: o The director or senior officer responsible for the application; or o Chief Academic Officer. Page 12

16 Application Fee The receipt of the Application for Approval of Capstone Course is subject to an application fee of $500 plus applicable taxes (see below*). This fee partially covers the administration of the review for approval and the annual updates. Cheques should be made payable to Financial Planning Standards Council. * Taxes: 5% GST in AB, MB, NT, NU, PE, QC, SK, YT; 12% HST in BC, 13% HST in ON, NB, NL; 15% HST in NS Submission of Application Form to FPSC Keep in mind that the approval process can take up to three months, depending on volume of applications received and issues that may arise within the review process. If you are seeking approval of a Capstone Course within a specific time frame, please inform us of this and ensure that you submit the completed application on a timely basis and well within the general guidelines for the approval process. Submit an electronic copy of the Application for Approval of Capstone Course to FPSC Certification Support at The signed Section VI Declaration and application fee can be mailed to: Financial Planning Standards Council Attention: Certification Support University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2J5 Credit card payments can be processed by phone by calling FPSC Certification Support at or Initial Review Once the application package and fee are received, FPSC staff will review the application to ensure that all required information is included with the submission. This preliminary review will serve to identify any omissions prior to the detailed review process. FPSC will inform the applicant in writing, within 30 days of receipt of the application, if there are significant omissions and/or deficiencies in the information provided. Detailed Review FPSC will complete a detailed review of the application within one to three months of the initial review to ensure that the application is complete. This time frame may vary based on the volume of applications concurrently under review. Applications will be reviewed by FPSC staff with consultation by our Academic Advisory Committee, as needed. FPSC will request any required additional information to ensure that the Capstone Course meets all of FPSC s requirements. If deemed necessary, a meeting or phone call may be scheduled to gain further clarification and information regarding the contents of the application. Upon completion of the review process, FPSC will prepare a brief summary outlining the results of the assessment, which will lead to one of the following outcomes: Approved FPSC determines that the requirements for the Capstone Course have been satisfactorily met. FPSC will notify the educator and list the education provider and program name on the FPSC website Capstone Course Directory. Page 13

17 Pending Approval FPSC determines that the requirements for the Capstone Course have not been satisfactorily met. FPSC will advise the program head in writing of the review results, outline the reasons for the decision taken and indicate, if appropriate, measures that can be taken to revise and resubmit the application. The educator will have an opportunity to resubmit the application, if they choose to do so. Renewal Process Six months before the three-year approval period expires, FPSC will advise education providers that their approval period is expiring. To enable renewal, educators will receive a website link to the most recent Application for Approval of Capstone Courses. Annual Update Because of the nature of the financial plan requirement, the details included in the original submission of this application may need to be updated as the cases change and learning activities supporting the Capstone Course evolve. Educators will be sent an annual update document requesting confirmation of some of these key details and notification of any changes to the FPSC-Approved Capstone Course. The annual update form will be distributed electronically as the anniversary of the approval of the Capstone Course approaches. FPSC will also request an outline of how the specific learning objectives and the specific requirements of the financial plan originally approved through this application are maintained within the course over the three-year approval period. To obtain and maintain approval, all Capstone Courses must meet FPSC requirements. These requirements may be amended from time to time based on feedback from educators and students, in conjunction with FPSC s Academic Advisory Committee and/or Certification Committee. More Information For more information about FPSC approval of Capstone Courses, please contact FPSC Certification Support at or Page 14

18 Appendix A: Model Financial Plan Structure Section 1: Title Page This section provides the following: Client name; Financial plan completion date; CFP professional name; and Student name. This section also provides a disclaimer. The CFP professional should clearly communicate any limitations he or she may have regarding the scope of the engagement and how these may affect the recommendations provided in the financial plan. Section 2: Summary of Goals, Needs and Recommendations This section provides a snapshot of client goals revealed and potential needs uncovered during the planning engagement. It also provides a summary of recommendations made throughout the plan. The goals, needs and recommendations should be presented in order of priority that students are able to defend and recommendations should be actionable. Section 3: Personal Information and Financial Assumptions This section provides a summary of the relevant quantitative and qualitative client information used to develop the financial plan, and includes all assumptions used in the analysis. Students should be able to explain their assumptions and clearly reference any research used in developing them. Section 4: Financial Management Current Situation Students should consider the following: Summary of the client s current assets and liabilities; Summary of the client s current and projected income and expenses (at a minimum, projected cash flows should be provided for years with significant changes in income and/or expenses where the information will be relevant for client decision making to meet his goals); and The client s attitude toward debt and savings. Issues and Opportunities This section provides an analysis of the client s current financial situation; students should clearly identify potential opportunities and constraints. Where appropriate, students should: Determine the strength of the client s current and projected financial position relative to his goals; Determine any cash flow shortfalls or surpluses; Determine the adequacy of the client s emergency funds; Determine the fit of the client s debt repayment plan with his goals and attitude toward debt; and Determine the fit of the client s savings plan with his goals and attitude toward savings. Page 15

19 Options to Consider This section provides cash flow options and/or strategies for the client to consider that address the issues or take advantage of the opportunities uncovered in the students analyses. Each option should be based on the client s goals and attitudes. Students should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option presented. Recommendations This section provides specific, actionable cash flow recommendations that are consistent with the client s goals and attitudes and reflect the students analyses. Section 5: Asset Management Current Situation Where appropriate, students should consider the following: The client s current asset allocation; The client s risk tolerance, time horizon and investment objectives; The model asset allocation based on the client s risk tolerance, time horizon and investment objectives, and its expected annual rate of return; The client s expected annual rate of return on his investments; The level of diversification of the client s investment portfolio; and The cost and tax efficiency of the client s investment portfolio. Issues and Opportunities This section provides an analysis of the client s current asset allocation; students should clearly identify potential opportunities and constraints. Where appropriate, students should: Determine the consistency of the client s current asset allocation and rate of return expectations with the model asset allocation based on the client s risk tolerance, time horizon and investment objectives; Determine the level of diversification of the client s investment portfolio; and Determine the cost and tax efficiency of the client s investment portfolio. Options to Consider This section provides asset management options and/or strategies for the client to consider that address the issues or take advantage of the opportunities uncovered in the students analyses. Each option should be based on the client s goals and attitudes. Students should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option presented. Recommendations This section provides specific actionable asset management recommendations that are consistent with the client s goals and attitudes and reflect the students analyses. Page 16

20 Section 6: Tax Planning Current Situation Where appropriate, students should consider the following: The client s current and projected marginal tax rates over her working and retirement years (at a minimum, tax rates should be provided for years with significant changes in taxable income where the information will be relevant for client decision making to meet her goals); The client s current and deferred tax liabilities; and The importance of taxation in client decision making. Issues and Opportunities This section provides an analysis of the client s tax situation; students should clearly identify potential opportunities and constraints. Where appropriate, students should determine the tax implications of current approaches to retirement/education savings, debt management and asset/business ownership, and assess the appropriateness of the client s personal and/or business strategies or structures based on his current and projected marginal tax rates. Options to Consider This section provides tax planning options and/or strategies for the client to consider that address the issues or take advantage of the opportunities uncovered in the students analyses. Each option should be based on the client s goals and attitudes. Students should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option presented. Recommendations This section provides specific actionable tax planning recommendations that are consistent with the client s goals and attitudes and reflect the students analyses. Section 7: Retirement Planning Current Situation Where appropriate, students should consider the following: The client s expected or desired retirement age; The client s expected income in retirement; The client s expected lifestyle expenses in retirement; Planned asset sales in retirement; Survivor lifestyle expenses (i.e., lifestyle expenses expected upon the death of one spouse); and The client s life expectancy. Issues and Opportunities This section provides an analysis of the client s current retirement plan; students should clearly identify potential opportunities and constraints. Where appropriate, students should: Determine any cash flow surpluses and/or shortfalls in retirement; Determine the client s debt repayment plan relative to her retirement goals; Determine the client s savings plan relative to her retirement goals; and Determine the tax efficiency of the client s retirement income. Page 17

21 Options to Consider This section provides retirement planning options and/or strategies for the client to consider that address the issues or take advantage of the opportunities uncovered in the students analyses. Each option should be based on the client s goals and attitudes. Students should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option presented. Recommendations This section provides specific actionable retirement planning recommendations that are consistent with the client s goals and attitudes and reflect the students analyses. Section 8: Risk Management Current Situation Where appropriate, students should consider the following: The client s current insurance coverage (amount and type); The client s life expectancy; The client s projected income and expenses in the event that one spouse dies prematurely; The client s projected income and expenses in the event of permanent disability; The client s attitude toward risk and steps taken to manage the risk; The client s family health history; and The client s estate objectives. Issues and Opportunities This section provides an analysis of the client s current risk exposure; students should clearly identify potential opportunities and constraints. Where appropriate, students should: Determine the adequacy of the client s insurance coverage based on a needs analysis; and Determine the appropriateness of the type of insurance in place based on the client s cash flow, attitude toward risk, tax position, and estate objectives. Options to Consider This section provides risk management options and/or strategies for the client to consider that address the issues or take advantage of the opportunities uncovered in the students analyses. Each option should be based on the client s goals and attitudes. Students should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option presented. Recommendations This section provides specific actionable risk management recommendations that are consistent with the client s goals and attitudes and reflect the students analyses. Section 9: Estate Planning Current Situation Where appropriate, students should consider the following: The date of the client s will and power of attorney (POA); The client s executor(s) and their locations; The client s attorney(s) and their locations; The existence of inter vivos or testamentary trusts and beneficiaries; Page 18

22 Expected inheritances (amount, timing and whether any are expected from outside Canada); The client s beneficiaries, their tax positions and any specific needs they may have; and The client s attitude toward inheritance and leaving an estate. Issues and Opportunities This section provides an analysis of the client s current estate plan; students should clearly identify potential opportunities and constraints. Where appropriate, students should: Determine the currency of the client s will and POA and any need for review based on changes in legislation or personal circumstances; Determine the appropriateness of the attorney and executor appointments; Determine the needs and circumstances of the client s beneficiaries and steps taken to address those needs; Determine the strategies in place to reduce and/or cover projected taxes at death; and Determine the client s after-tax net worth at death relative to her estate goals. Options to Consider This section provides estate planning options and/or strategies for the client to consider that address the issues or take advantage of the opportunities uncovered in the students analyses. Each option should be based on the client s goals and attitudes. Students should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option presented. Recommendations This section provides specific actionable estate planning recommendations that are consistent with the client s goals and attitudes and reflect the students analyses. Section 10: Recommendations and Action Steps This section will provide a summary of all of the recommendations in the financial plan and provide specific action steps. These should be presented in order of priority based on the client s goals and needs. The action steps should clearly explain what needs to be done, by whom and when. Section 11: Delivery Acknowledgment This section will provide a place for the client to sign, indicating that he has received the plan. This section may also provide for an acknowledgment that he has read the plan, understands the assumptions used, understands that performance is not guaranteed and is aware that the plan should be reviewed periodically. It may also provide for an acknowledgment that the client has provided complete and accurate information as the basis for the plan. Section 12: Appendix This section may or may not be used. It will include supporting documentation for one or more sections of the financial plan. This section may also provide reference to any research material that students used in preparing the financial plan. Page 19

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