Although the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) is the professional oversight and certification body for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification in Canada, it’s also part of the global Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB) network, which consists of financial planning certification and professional bodies in 26 countries and territories around the world. FPSB member organizations work together to establish consistent global standards for CFP certification; promote the value of financial planning and in working with a CFP professional; and meet regularly to exchange ideas, share best practices and discuss standards for the global financial planning profession.
I recently attended a meeting of the FPSB in Cape Town, South Africa. The theme was Shaping the Future. It’s no secret that technology and changing regulatory expectations are disrupting and redefining financial services. In addition, client needs and expectations are also changing. Most importantly, this disruption is not confined to any one border. There’s no more relevant conversation than how the financial planning profession needs to respond and adapt, not only here at home, but as a global collective.
In 2016, almost 300 Canadian financial planners responded to a global survey on fintech that the FPSB conducted. The survey asked respondents to identify the trends they saw driving the demand for fintech, to explore technology’s role in financial planning, and to share how they thought regulators and the global financial planning community can adjust to automated advice.
The results were encapsulated in a report entitled Fintech and the Future of Financial Planning that included nine major recommendations, several of which have framed the dialogue at FPSB meetings over the past year. At the FPSB’s meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this past April, there was much discussion on which aspects of the financial planning process that technology may replace; which aspects may be tech-enabled, but with human intervention; and which will remain the exclusive purview of the human professional. There was also discussion on how we need to change the conversation and create a truly compelling digitally-powered, human-delivered value proposition.
All FPSB member bodies agree that the vast majority of administrative and task-related functions should be automated and standardized. However, most also feel that humans will continue to be the drivers to establishing and maintaining client relationships — especially when exploring client needs, goals and objectives — and in helping clients take appropriate actions.
At the heart of the FPSB global network’s priorities for 2018 will be fintech, but specifically in the context of financial planning. The FPSB has coined this as “FPtech.” The group will be working with fintech firms, industry leaders, financial planners and regulators worldwide to explore the knowledge, competencies, skills, fintech platforms and technology tools that financial planners and fintech firms will need to offer to deliver great client outcomes. This needs to be done in a way that will ensure a sustainable and thriving financial planning profession side-by-side a thriving fintech industry.
In the meantime, promoting the value of financial planning also remains at the core of the FPSB’s global priorities. On Oct. 4, the FPSB launched the first ever World Financial Planning Day (#WFPD), with consumer and practitioner events, media articles and interviews, social media engagement, and regulatory engagement taking place in participating territories around the world. Although the FPSC is committed to Financial Planning Week as an integral part of Financial Literacy month here in Canada, World Financial Planning Day was created in co-operation with the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO), of which the FPSB is an associate member, and in conjunction with IOSCO’s World Investor Week.
I always leave the FPSB’s global member meetings with a renewed commitment to establish financial planning as a global profession. I’m energized by the passion of so many leaders from around the world who are working to ensure that clients will have access to, and value, human-driven, technology-powered advice from competent and ethical financial planners who put their clients’ best interests first.
Cary List was elected to serve as the FPSB council’s chairman for 2018.
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