About Certified Financial Planner (CFP) – An Overview


CFP® certification is recognized globally as the highest standard in personal financial planning.

If you are thinking about attaining

CFP® certification, you will get an overview of  CFP Certification education programme here, and that will support your decision and reinforce your choice to be one of more than 70,000 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals.

The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® and CFPCERT TM certification marks identify what a financial planner is, establishes a standard of professional practice and creates a “mark of quality” that consumers can recognize and for which practitioners may aspire to attain. The financial planner who uses this mark is recognized as having met the highest standards for the practice of financial planning. The internationalCFPCERT TM Council works to ensure that a well-defined six-step process used by a financial planner will place the client’s interest and needs first.

A total of 26 countries and territories recognised CFPCERT TM professional qualification, that included USA, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Ireland, South Africa, Israel, Columbia, Brazil, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

As of December 2016, there are 170, 101 CFP certified practitioners worldwide and the number is growing.

In Malaysia, CFPCERT TM certification programme has becoming more and more popular. The Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) currently has 2695 CFP certified members as of December 2015, with another 9500 of them have or currently pursuing CFPCERT TM certification programme. Majority of Malaysia’s CFPCERT TM holders are mainly from financial industry: about 24% are attached to Unit Trust companies, 20% from financial advisory industry, 14% from banks, 13% from insurance companies, with another 14% are accountants. About 5% of CFPCERT TMholders in Malaysia are from non-financial corporations.

The CFPCERT TM program is recognized globally and locally by Bank Negara and Securities Commission.

Bank Negara has recognized the CFPCERT TM qualification as a prerequisite for application of the Financial Adviser’s licence. Prior to this, Modules 1 and 2 of the CFPCERT TMcertification program had been recognized by Bank Negara for the purpose of complying with the requirement that all life insurance agents of more than one year need to attend these modules. The recognition by Bank Negara is a further testament of the standard of the CFPCERT TM qualification and its credo of the “Highest Standard in Financial Planning”.

CFPCERT TMis also recognised by Securities Commission as a prerequisite for CMSL – Capital Market Services License.


The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® qualification is for those wishing to practice the profession of financial planning and who wish to master a certain level of theoretical knowledge and practical application of financial planning in such areas as:

General principles of financial planning

Risk management & insurance planning

Taxation planning

Investment planning

Retirement planning

Estate planning

Financial plan construction and professional responsibilities

The Financial Planning Process 

The financial planning process is defined by the CFPCERT TMBoard involves the following six key steps:

· Gathering client data, including goals

· Analysing and evaluating your financial status

· Developing and presenting financial planning recommendations and/or alternatives

· Implementing the financial planning recommendation

· Monitoring the financial planning recommendations

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professionals meet competency, ethics and professional practice standards based on an international platform of education, examination, experience and ethics/professional practice requirements (the 4Es). CFPCERT TM certification standards for each country/ region have been adapted to meet domestic marketplace, regulatory and educational needs.

For an overview of the international CFPCERT TM certification program and the state of the financial planning profession globally, visit FPSB web site HERE.

The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® certification will be earned by individuals who have demonstrated technical competency combined with practical experience which enables them to write a comprehensive, functional financial plan for an individual, all the while conforming to the international CFPCERT TMmark.The Associate Financial Planner Malaysia (AFPM) will be competent to recommend general financial planning strategies and to advise on the appropriate selection and use of various financial products for individuals, e.g., insurance, unit trust and a broad range of securities and banking products.

The CFPCERT TM and AFPM Certification Requirements 

Minimum entry requirement: from 2014 onwards, the CFP qualification has a degree requirement (any discipline). However, non-degree holders with at least 5 years of relevant work experience are encouraged to sit for Prior Learning Recognition Assessment (PLRA) Test, and once passed will be eligible to proceed with CFP studies.

In order to be certified, a candidate for the CFPCERT TM certification must meet all four requirements of the certification process described below, while a candidate for the AFPM certification must meet the education, examination and the ethics requirements. In Malaysia, KDU Management Development Centre (KMDC) is the leading education provider of CFPCERT TMprogramme. For enrolment and more information about CFPCERT TM course offered in Malaysia, please contact KMDC.

Before applying for the Certification Examination, a candidate must complete academic coverage of the financial planning curricula including :

– Foundation in Financial Planning
– Risk management and insurance planning
– Tax planning
– Investment planning
– Estate planning and Retirement planning
– Financial Plan Construction and Professional Responsibilities

Upon successful completion of the academic requirement, the candidate is eligible to apply for the Certification Examination. The Certification Examination is designed to assess the candidate’s ability to apply his financial planning education to financial planning situations in an integrated format, thereby protecting the consumers by assuring that the financial planner is at the appropriate level of competency required for practice.

This centres on work which involves personal financial planning-related experience. It is designed to provide the public with the assurance that the candidate understands the counseling nature of personal financial planning. The requirement is three years, performed before or after the successful completion of the Certification Examination.

Once the education, examination and work experience requirements are met, the candidate for the CFPCERT TM certification will receive a Declaration Packet which includes an ethics statement form and his licence application with a bill for the initial licence fee. The candidate for the AFPM certification will also receive a Declaration Packet on completion of the education and examination requirements.

Prior to certification, the candidates will be required to disclose past or pending litigation or agency proceedings and to acknowledge the right of FPAM to enforce its Professional Standards and Code of Ethics through due process described.

  • Acquire knowledge and develop expertise in retirement planning, insurance, investment, tax and estate planning.
  • Be associated with the most internationally recognized and accepted designation in financial planning.
  • Earn your credibility and respect from the public and distinguish yourself from your competitors.
  • Increase your business earning potential and add to your career growth and professional fulfillment.

The CFP certification programme evolves around ‘4Es’ – Education, Examination, Experience and Ethics – which are the cornerstones of the professional. The CFP certification course consists of four (4) modules with 60 hours of classroom-based lectures per module followed by examinations. Candidates who have completed the AFPM programme (Module 1) will go through only the last three (3) modules. Shortest time frame to complete the programme is 12 months. Candidates taking the AFPM or CFPcertification will be required to first be Trade Members of the Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM).

In Malaysia, with effect from 1st July 2002, members can select any of the 3 options to complete the CFPcertification course.

Entry requirements: From 2014 onwards, the CFP minimum entry qualification is a bachelor’s degree (any discipline). For Non-degree holders, provided that they have at least 5 years of relevant work experience, they can opt for Prior Learning Recognition Assessment (PLRA) – a multiple-choice test. Once passed, they are eligible to apply for CFP programme.  Candidates are only allowed to register for the PLRA assessment 2 times and there must be a break of 6 months between the attempts.

FPAM recognizes that certain professional qualifications cover some of the components in financial planning. Holders of the following qualifications are granted exemption as listed below (terms and conditions apply)(X denotes exemption):

Licensed Unit Trust & Private Retirement Scheme Consultants (FIMM)x---
Registered Financial Planners (MFPC)xx--
Chartered Financial Practioners (Namlifa)x---
MII Dip. in Financial Planningx---
Chartered Life Underwritersx---
Life Underwriters Training Council of Fellowsx---
Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investmentx---

Terms and Conditions:
1. All must have a Bachelor degree with the exception of Unit Trust & PRS Consultants; and
2. All must attend CFP Tax workshop and purchase the subject manual except RFP holders.
Unit Trust and Private Retirement Scheme Consultants (collectively known as “Consultants”) that are actively registered with Federation of Investment Managers (FIMM):-
a) The Consultant must pass Computerised Unit Trust Examination (CUTE) or Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) Examination;
b) The Consultant must have a degree OR a diploma with minimum 5 years of relevant work experience;
c) The Consultant must attend CFP Tax Workshop and purchase the subject manual;
d) The Consultants who are exempted from CUTE or PRS examination are not eligible for the CFP Module 1 exemption and they must have a Bachelor degree in order to gain entry to CFP programme. 

How to apply for CFP Partial Exemption?

Download the application form below and follow the instruction on the form, submit required documents such as your degree certificate with the completed form and send it to FPAM or KMDC.

Download Application Form for applying for partial exemption (PDF file).

Only Malaysians who possess the following qualifications or professional credentials with 3 years relevant work experience in personal finance* are eligible to apply. Exemption is for Modules 1-3 of the CFP certification. Applicants are allowed only 3 consecutive attempts under this option.

1. Qualifications:
· Professional Accountants (CA(M), CPA(M), CPA(Australia), AICPA, ACA, ACCA, ICMA and AIA)
· Chartered Secretaries (ICSA & Fellow of MACS)
· Chartered Financial Consultants (ChFC)
· Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA)
· Islamic Financial Planner (IFP) – Applicants are required to attend Insurance Planning & Estate Planning workshop in addition to the Module 4 workshop.
· PhD (Business, Accounting & Economics)
· Masters (Business Administration/Finance/Economics/Accounting) from accredited universities

2. Members must have 3 years of personal finance related experience which can be in any or all the following areas: Insurance, mutual funds, securities, asset management, accounting, estate planning, banking, taxation, trusts, retirement planning and financial planning. The 3 years of relevant work experience must be within the 5 years prior to application for Challenge Status. (For definition of relevant financial planning experience, please click here) 

3. There will be three (3) consecutive examination attempts only for the challenge status commencing immediately after obtaining approval from FPAM. After the 3 attempts or non-attempts, they must enroll for the normal CFP certification examinations.

How to apply for CFP Challenge Status? 

If qualified, you may apply for Challenge Status. Download the appropriate information and form(s) then submit to FPAM or  KMDC together with required documents. Instructions on how to apply and the documents required are already stated in the application form:

Click the links below to Download:

CFP ModuleStandard Fee & Challenge Status (Module 4)Corporate Package
(For those attached to Financial Institution)
Senior & Youth Package
(For youth aged 23 & below and Seniors 51+)
TotalRM8374 (excluding optional module & FPAM Exam Fee)RM7844 (excluding optional module & FPAM Exam Fee)RM6890 (excluding optional module & FPAM Exam Fee)
Module 1
Foundation in Financial Planning
Module 2
Insurance Planning & Estate Planning
Module 3
Investment Planning & Retirement Planning
Module 4
Financial Plan Construction & Professional Responsibilities
KMDC Application Fee
(applies to new student only)

You are eligible to the Corporate Rate if you are attached to any financial institution (e.g. banks, unit trusts, insurance, financial planning, estate planning and finance company), including full time and part time staff.

If you are young adults 23 and below, or,  senior citizens 51 and above, you will be qualified for the Special Package, but not entitled any other promotions or discount.

Challenge Status students pay Standard tuition fee RM2014 for Module 4 and application fee RM318, and are not eligible to Corporate Rate, Senior & Youth Package or any promotion such as early bird discount.

Download CFP Challenge Status Fee Schedule Here

Charter Members are corporations that play an active role to support the development of the financial planning industry.  If you are attached to a company or institution that is a Charter Member of FPAM, then you only need to pay RM212 examination fee per examination sitting instead of RM318.

Corporate Members are corporations that are interested in financial planning and subscribe as a member of FPAM. If you are attached to a company that is a corporate member of FPAM, then your examination fee is RM265 per examination sitting.

Trade Member – must be involved in financial product distribution, advisory and or education. All candidates who enrolled for CFP Module 1 course must apply to become FPAM Trade member. Associate member: must have passed CFP Module 1 course.

Click here for more information on FPAM membership:  http://www.fpam.org.my/fpam/membership/types-of-members/

FPAM conducts two examination sittings per year: mid June and mid December. Examinations will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Baru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.

For CFP Module 1 to Module 3, a 3-hour examination (multiple choice questions) For CFP Module 4 examination, Paper 1 (3-hour) consists of multiple choice questions, and Paper 2 (3-hour) consists of essay questions on financial plan construction and case study.

For more information about CFP Examination: http://www.kmdc.com.my/html/programmes/cfp_examination.html

For each CFP module, students need to fulfill a minimum of 60 contact hours. This financial planning program is designed for working professionals, thus most classes are held during weekends.

Besides face-to-face workshop with the facilitators, there will be online support, and study manual, lecture notes, sample examination papers and reference materials will be provided.

Complete CFPCERT TM program in 3 Stages: There are 3 stages. Unless exemption is granted, for most people, they have to begin with Module 1. Once passed Module 1, then you will move on to Stage 2, i.e. Modules 2 and Module 3. In this stage, you may choose to study all two modules or any module(s) in any sequence in one semester. Once you have passed all two modules in Stage 2, then you will take up the last paper, that is Module 4. It is possible to complete CFP in 1-1.5 years.

KMDC provides 60 -72 hours of workshop for each CFP module. Classes are held mostly on weekends, some on weekdays, usually from 9:00am till 5:00pm. You may choose Saturday Class or Sunday Class or Weekday Class (if available). For each module, you only need to attend a total of 8-9 days of workshop.  Each module can be completed in 8-9 weeks.

Venue: KDU Glenmarie Campus, Shah Alam (weekend & weekday classes).  Outstation and in-house classes available on demand. KMDC is planning to introduce e-Learning mode for outstation students from 2017 subject to approval by FPAM.

Besides CFP workshops, KMDC also provides additional training workshops, mock examination and revision seminars.

Shortest Time frame to complete the program: 1-1.5 years; some will take 2 years to complete. For Challenge Status students who were exempted 3 modules, it is possible to complete in 6 months.

For CFP Timetable, click here: http://www.kmdc.com.my/html/programmes/cfp_KL&PJ_Schedule.html

1.     Registration: Submit by hand or email or fax KMDC Admission Form to KMDC. Business office at Level 3, Admin. Block, KDU University College Utropolis Glenmarie Campus, Jalan Kontraktor U1/14, Seksyen U1, 40150 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.  Fax numbers: 03-5565 0797. Tel: 03-5565 0799/0798, Email: start@kmdc.com.my

2.      Payments:  
We accept Cash, Credit Card, Cheque, Bank Transfer.

Please note: you only pay for the module(s) that you plan to study for the coming semester, not the whole program. Application fee is one-time only and only applies to first-timer.

a.      Credit Card: authorize KMDC to charge your credit card by filling up your credit card details on the KMDC Admission form.

b.      Deposit cheque or cash into KMDC’s Maybank account:

Name: KDU Management Development Centre Sdn. Bhd. 
Account No.:514 196 – 326 142
Bank: Maybank Damansara Utama Branch

Once payment is made, write your name onto the bank-in slip, and then fax this slip together with KMDC Admission Form to KMDC, fax number: 03-5565 0797 or email: start@kmdc.com.my 

c.   Cash Payment or bank transfer:  please make a visit to our office and pay cash or charge credit card or make a bank transfer online and notify KMDC on your payment.

3.      FPAM’s Fees: For fees payable to FPAM, i.e. FPAM Trade membership fee and examination fee, please authorize FPAM to charge your credit card by filling up the details in FPAM Trade Member Application Form or issue cheque payable to Financial Planning Association of Malaysia. KMDC will not accept cash on FPAM’s behalf. FPAM Examination Fee can be settled at a latter stage.

For more information about Registration and Payment Options: http://www.kmdc.com.my/html/programmes/cfp_how_to_enrol.html

Module 1: Foundation in Financial Planning 

CFPCERT TM course provides a comprehensive examination of the entire financial planning process, along with an overview of the specific areas of personal income tax planning, risk management and insurance, investment planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.

Module 2: Insurance Planning & Estate Planning

This CFPCERT TM module covers various aspects of fundamental concepts in risk management and insurance, including how insurance rates are developed, what types of contracts are available, how to read insurance proposals, and how life insurance is used in financial planning. Other topics include health insurance plan and legal aspects of insurance. The second part of this module covers estate planning.

Module 3: Investments &Retirement Planning

This course explores the securities market, sources of information, risk/return, equities, stocks, bonds, derivatives, unit trusts, real estate and culminates in portfolio construction and analysis, plus Retirement planning.

Optional Module: Tax Planning

Participants in this course study Malaysian taxation for tax aspects of investments, EPF and unit trusts. The course also introduces other special tax considerations.

Module 4: Financial Plan Construction and Professional Responsibilities

This course is for students who have completed Module 1 to 3 or preparing to attempt the CFPCERT TMChallenge Status. The course introduces methods of gathering client data and teaches students how to work with clients to set goals. Students learn how to process and analyze information, construct personal financial statements, and understand a written comprehensive financial plan, including implementing, monitoring, and reviewing the plan.

For more information about the course outline: http://www.kmdc.com.my/html/programmes/cfp_outline.html

  • KMDC is the Malaysian market leader in CFPCERT TM education
  • Good reputation: High quality education assured. We provide high quality education and continue in seeking improvement.
  • Best performer in CFPCERT TM examination: KMDC has constantly achieved over 80% total average pass rate in the past 5 years.
  • Best value: KMDC provides extra training, revision seminar, mock exam, sample exam materials and additional contact hours.
  • Best facilitators: a strong team of facilitators who are highly qualified industry practitioners.
  • Administrative support and service: KMDC is known for providing fast, hassle-free and efficient support and services to our learning community.
  • Flexibility and more choices: KMDC CFP timetable is specially tailored and designed for busy professionals, you have the choices of Saturday and or Sunday sessions, and we provide repeat and re-sit (must be within 2 years from 1st sitting) opportunities.
  • Up-to-date study manual, lecture notes, sample examination papers and reference materials are provided.

    28 reasons why you should choose KMDC as your CFP education provider

There are 2 semesters per year. CFP 1st semester usually starts in mid January or late February (1st Intake) and mid March or early April (second intake). Second semester will start in mid July or early August (first intake) and mid September or early October (second intake). For each semester, there will be at least two intakes.

For registration, please contact 03-5565 0799/0798 or email: start@kmdc.com.my or download KMDC Application Form and fax it to 03-5565 0797 or email: start@kmdc.com.my 

CFP & FRM Enquiry Form

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