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Big changes are underway at FP Canada Institute, and Alexandra Macqueen will be leading the way.

On Tuesday, FP Canada said Macqueen will take the helm of the FP Canada Institute, effective April 1. Further, the institute, which is FP Canada’s educational arm, has plans to provide all education in-house for the designations that FP Canada oversees — the qualified associate financial planner (QAFP) and certified financial planner (CFP) credentials.

Currently, the institute provides the required professional curriculum, including ethics, while third-party educators — including colleges and universities as well as providers such as Advocis and the Canadian Securities Institute — provide the technical curriculum for the designations.

Now, FP Canada Institute is working toward offering both the professional and technical education.

“There’s a lot to know and a lot to be competent in,” Macqueen said, referring to financial planning. Because the institute’s educational content is geared specifically to QAFP and CFP certification, “who better than us to make that content available?”

Third-party education will continue to be an option, she said.

FP Canada’s certification programs culminate in exams whereby candidates demonstrate competency in six financial planning areas, applying technical knowledge to real-life client scenarios.

That technical knowledge is built on FP Canada’s body of knowledge, established in 2017 and regularly reviewed and updated, Macqueen noted; for example, ESG-related material will be added in the coming months. FP Canada is always looking at whether it has correctly “calibrated what the knowledge expectations for certificants are,” she said.

Further, what it takes to be certified as a financial planner is “a global conversation,” she said, referring to global financial planning standards.  “We have a close connection with the Financial Planning Standards Board to … determine what changes we might need to make [in education] and to participate in what changes they’re contemplating.”

Content created for technical educational will be accessible in multiple formats, and candidates’ prior learning will be taken into account, she said.

The reaction from industry firms has been “extremely positive,” Macqueen said.

“This is a transformational moment for FP Canada and for certificants,” she said. “I’m extremely excited at the thought that a candidate can begin and end their education with us.”