As with all fields, the financial arena is continuously evolving. With an unstable economy, people are being more careful in how they invest their money and are turning to professionals for guidance. Others, meanwhile, are planning for retirement and need to figure out how to make the money they have accumulated through RRSPs or will receive through a pension plan work for them in their later years. That's where financial planning advisors come in. According to the Canadian Securities Institute, these professionals are responsible for: assessing clients' financial needs for retirement, tax and estate planning; formulating financial plans and solutions to fulfill client objectives; implementing financial plans that are monitored and reviewed regularly; staying informed on current investment products and changes in the markets and tax laws; providing comprehensive wealth management advice, including guidance on investment and portfolio management issues, to high net worth clients; referring to, or consulting with, tax, legal and estate planning specialists as needed; prospect for new clients and building an established business.

A report by the Toronto Board of Trade states that, with demographic changes and the need for regulation and associated trained professional, there will be an increasing demand for graduates from programs such as Centennial College's financial planning program. This offering is completed through a series of courses that use instruction materials from professional bodies. Among the topics covered at Centennial College are: marketing, tax planning, retirement financial planning, accounting for managerial decision making, estate planning and risk management, corporate credit management, crafting and executing strategy and more.

As a result of their courses, students have the know-how to:

  • Integrate economic and personal information necessary for effective financial planning decisions.
  • Compare, contrast and select financial products and services, investment planning and counselling services for clients, while adhering to industry standards.
  • Effectively market financial services to clients to gain new and renewal business.
  • Recognize potential tax and legal implications within a financial planning situation.

Once they complete the program, students graduate with an Ontario College Graduate Certificate as well as well as all of the educational requirements to challenge the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) exam. This resulting Certified Financial Planner (CFP™) license is required for those who wish to work in: banks, credit unions, financial planning companies, life insurance companies, mutual fund companies and investment dealers.

This financial planning certification is open to anyone who currently possesses a three-year college diploma or university degree in a business related discipline. Also considered will be applicants who have a two-year college diploma or a partial university degree (75 per cent complete), and who have a minimum of two years work experience relevant to the program. In addition to these requirements, students may be required to provide proof of English proficiency and may be asked to complete an assessment of numeracy skills.