Part 2: Getting down with the designation

On the heals of IIROC's latest guidance notes on how to debunk the confusion behind, what is commonly labelled, the alphabet soup of industry designations, two Montreal advisors express their point of view on why one certification is increasingly essential to the recipe.

In the latest issue of WP Magazine, Investors Group advisors and brothers, Nick and Joe Bakish, share why they feel the Certfied Financial Planner (CFP) designation is increasingly essential for the wealth management professional, amid, and perhaps in addition to, the myriad of titles and designations that can be acquired. Here's part 2 telling exactly why they think so.

Certification and Training
To become a CFP professional, candidates must complete a rigorous education program, pass two national exams and have three years of qualifying work experience. To remain certified they have to complete professional education courses every year and agree to adhere to the Standards of Professional Responsibility for CFP Professionals. 
CFP certification is recognized worldwide, with 17,500 CFP professionals in Canada, who belong to a global network of more than 150,000 CFP professionals across the planet. In Canada, CFP professionals are the largest identifiable body of financial planners in the country – the gold standard for the industry. Clients should not settle for less and advisors should strive to reach a standard level of proficiency.
Statistically Speaking
Of course, this needs to be backed up with data proving that education matters.
The FPSC and the Financial Planning Foundation conducted a three-year longitudinal study to measure the impact of financial planning on Canadians' emotional and financial well-being, as well as the impact of financial planning services offered by CFP professionals compared to non-certified advisors. More than 15,000 Canadians, from all net-worth categories, were surveyed.
The study revealed:

  • 78 per cent of Canadians who work with a CFP professional feel their financial affairs are on track versus 54 per cent
  • More Canadians, who engage with a CFP professional, believe they are closer to achieving some of their life goals as a result of planning than those working with a non-certified professional (70 per cent versus 61 per cent)
  • More Canadians, who are using a CFP professional, believe that financial planning has helped them achieve greater peace of mind than those working with a non-certified advisor (73 per cent versus 61 per cent)
  • Canadians spend 36 per cent more time with their CFP professional than those working with a non-certified advisor.
  • CFP professionals continue to have longer-term relationships with their clients – on average 6.2 years – than non-certified advisors – on average 4.6 years. 

Moving Forward
Once a financial advisor obtains their CFP – or PlFin in Quebec – they can move on to more specific and in-depth designations, such as the CLU (for risk management and wealth transition), CFA (for investment planning), CHS (for living benefits planning/risk management), and TEP (for Estate Planning).
Financial planning is a complex, high-stakes activity. To reduce the probability for error, client should know exactly what to expect from the individual managing their affairs. There should be a professional body to ensure those standards are not be upheld.
Additional designations can help to set the advisor apart and improve the likelihood of longer term relationships – a win-win for advisor and client.

Nick Bakish: CFA, F.Pl, CLU, TEP
Scoring in the top 10 – No. 6 to be exact – on WP’s Top 50 Advisor’s in Canada list, released in January, Nick is one of the Investors Group’s most talented consultants, receiving numerous awards of distinction, since his inception there in 2002. With his clients’ interests top of mind, Nick sets himself apart with tireless devotion to continuing education – having obtained his CFA, along with the Trust and Estate Practitioner, Chartered Life Underwriter and Financial Planner designations. Nick is a member of the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Montreal and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. He participated in the Million Dollar Roundtable and was a part of the prestigious Court of the Table. Nick graduated with first class honours in the joint economics and finance program at McGill University.

Joseph Bakish CFA, CFP, CLU, CHS
In 2005, Joe began working with Investors Group and has received the Investors Group Pillar award – recognizing an advisor's outstanding efforts at the beginning of their career – not once, but twice. Acting in his clients’ best interests, Joe continually educates himself having earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, the Chartered Life Underwriter, the Certified Health Insurance Specialist and the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. Joe volunteers with the Financial Planning Standards Council marking and designing exam questions for the CFP exam. He also serves on the board of the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Montreal.

Joseph Bakish was awarded as one of the Best Financial Advisors in Quebec. Learn more about the winners in 5-Star Advisors 2023 special report.

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