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Refinements to FPSC® Financial Planning Practice Standards

The FPSC® Financial Planning Practice Standards, as reflected in the Canadian Financial Planning Definitions, Standards & Competencies, FPSC’s Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP® Professionals and FPSC Level 1® Certificants in Financial Planning and the CFP Professional Competency Profile, have been refined.

The changes are primarily in terminology – for example, the term “investment planning” now replaces “asset management”, “insurance and risk management” replaces “risk management” and “recommendation” replaces “synthesis”.

However, to ensure that the Practice Standards apply equally to individuals working in all types of organizations and with various levels of ongoing involvement with clients, there have been a few key changes, as outlined below:

Previous Standard

Current Standard


Define the Terms of the Engagement in a Written Letter Signed by Both Parties

Define the Terms of the Engagement

The requirement recognizes that a written letter of engagement is not in place in all cases. Having said that, to avoid misunderstanding, best practice would be to detail the terms of the engagement in writing, signed by the planner and client. This may be via a formal firm-approved letter or an informal note or email (sent by the planner and confirmed by the client) summarizing the services to be provided, the planner’s compensation, any real or perceived conflicts and a commitment to confidentiality.

Present a Financial Plan 

Compile and Present the Financial Planning Recommendations and Supporting Rationale

This requirement acknowledges the fact that a financial planning engagement may not always culminate in a full-blown financial plan.

Define the Terms for Review of the Plan, Review the Client’s Situation and Re-Evaluate the Financial Plan

Discuss Implementation Actions, Responsibilities and Time Frames and Stress the Importance of Review and Monitoring of Client Situation

This requirement acknowledges that, depending on the business model, the original financial planner may or may not personally review and re-evaluate the recommendations made. That said, it requires the financial planner in all cases to stress the importance of a review and ongoing monitoring of the client’s situation periodically and as needed based on material changes in the client’s personal or external circumstances.


Explain the Role of the Financial Planner and Value of the Financial Planning Process

This requirement is intended to educate clients around what to expect of financial planning and the value proposition of the financial planner and to help engage clients in the process of financial planning.

For more information, please refer to the Guidance to FPSC® Financial Planning Practice Standards.