Money Moves

Becoming a Registered Financial Planner

Not all financial planning qualifications come from abroad. Would-be professionals can also pick home-grown qualifications, writes KS Lau

Registered Financial Planner (RFP) is a Hong Kong qualification. Professional education as an RFP, on offer since 2002, is available through "non-university" training institutions such as the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) and the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA).

Students can also complete a professional diploma programme and take certification examinations conducted by the Society of Registered Financial Planners. They must satisfy the society's requirements in three areas: education, certification examinations and relevant industry experience.

Educational course

The HKPC offers an educational programme, which leads to a Professional Diploma in Financial Planning and prepares students to obtain RFP certification. The minimum entry requirement is a high-school certificate. Completion obtains recognition in the form of a continuing professional education (CPE) credit, if you are a registered life insurance practitioner (under the continuing professional development requirements of the Insurance Intermediaries Quality Assurance Scheme). The five-module course is structured in accordance with the examinations of the Society of Registered Financial Planners.

Exam structure

Multiple-choice examinations are held every May and November and include:
(1) Financial Planning
(2) Insurance Planning
(3) Investment Planning
(4) Tax Planning
(5) Best Practice for Financial Planners.

Students can take examinations on an individual subject basis and need only re-sit subjects they have failed. The pass grade is 60 percent.

Membership structure

Student member (designation: nil)
This grade of membership is for candidates who are aspiring to become RFPs by taking the educational programme and certification examinations. The minimum entry requirement is an HKCEE certificate.

Associate member (designation: ARFP)
This could be considered an interim qualification. Once a student has passed any two papers from the RFP exams and possesses a minimum of one year's relevant financial services experience, he or she is eligible for associateship.

Full member (designation: RFP)
This grade of membership is for candidates who have successful completed all five papers of the certification examinations and have acquired at least two years' financial services experience (before, during or after the certification examinations).

Fellow member (designation: FRFP)
This is for senior practitioners in the financial planning industry. It is usually for RFPs who have over five years' relevant experience and have been deemed by the society to have made a significant contribution to the profession.

K S Lau, MSc, MBA, FCCA, FCPA, CFE. An accountant by profession, Mr Lau is specialised in corporate governance and management development. He is also the co-author of Q&A: Financial Planning Exams, a popular course book preparing students for financial planning examinations. For any enquiries regarding the article, you can contact Mr Lau on

Taken from Career Times 17 October 2003
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