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FPA in China: A Chinese Planner’s Analysis of Trip’s Value

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As part of AdvisorOne’s coverage of the Financial Planning Association’s trip to China (see FPA in China home page), we asked a representative of the FPSB China to share her insights on the state of the financial planning profession in China and the value of the FPA’s trip.-Ed.)

As there is an increasing demand for financial planning in China, most financial institutions in China have been offering a variety of financial products and services. However, those financial institutions lack programs for training, testing and choosing as well as certification for their employees. In view of the relative anonymity of the financial planning market in China, FPSB China decided to introduce the CFP certification program because of its strict ethical standards, integrated training, testing system and operations process which have been ratified extensively all over the world.

(See previous FPA in China blog by Susan Kendall on how financial planning is delivered in China.)

Financial Planning in China
Financial Planning Standards Board of China (FPSB China) was established in 2004 and became an affiliate of FPSB in 2005. FPSB China has all the rights and responsibilities to manage, develop and operate standards, education, examination and certification of CFPs and its pathway certification programs in mainland China.

Compared to the U.S. certification system, China now has established a pathway CFP certification program system which, along with the full CFP certification program, includes AFP/Associate Financial Planner, EFP/Executive Financial Planner and CPB/Certified Private Banker certification programs. CFP certification is structured as two-tier system under which candidates who complete training and examination in fundamental financial planning will receive AFP certification as the first step, while those who continue the higher part of the education, pass the exam, and meet the experience and ethics standards will receive the CFP certification.

The EFP certification program is aimed at the executives in the financial planning industry while we provide CPB certification to the private bankers who already received the AFP or CFP certificates. In the past seven years, 130,000 professionals participated in the education and through the end of May 2011, 91,411 persons received the certificate: 78,684 professionals received the AFP certificate, 10,298 received the CFP certificate, 2,270 got the EFP certificate and 159 persons got the CPB certificate.

However, considering the increasing need of the China market for financial planning services, we still have a long way to go. Compared to the ratio of the CFP certificants to other countries, the CFP certificants in China are not enough.

  • There are 53 CFP certificants delivering financial planning services to every 100,000 Canadians
  • 28 CFP certificants delivering financial planning services to every 100,000 Australians,
  • 9 CFP certificants delivering financial planning services to every 100,000 Japanese
  • 20 CFP certificants delivering financial planning services to every 100,000 American people
  • But China has only 0.7 CFP certificants and 5.7 AFP certificants delivering financial planning services to every 100,000 Chinese people.

Compared to U.S. financial planners, financial planners in China are relatively younger with average age of


32 years old, but gained professional knowledge, eager to learn and full of enthusiasm. What they lack is experience and a path to follow since the financial planning industry in China is brand new and still in the emerging stage.

The Value of the FPA Trip to China

Various activities were arranged for the Financial Planning Association’s People to People delegation Beijing, Shanghai and Guilin. There was a face-to-face meeting between the American and Chinese planners and a 400-person formal conference in Beijing.

[See Dan Moisand’s post-trip blog on the hospitality shown to the FPA delegation and on what he learned during the trip.)

The FPA’s People to People delegation paid a visit to Shanghai Stock Exchanges, ICBC private bank and Pudong Development Bank private bank while they were in Shanghai. There was also a professional meeting for financial planners exchanging their practices and experience in Guilin.

Chinese financial planners find it all these activities very helpful and full of information. It was a platform for Chinese financial planners to learn the practical lessons and experience from their U.S. peers. Through the communication, American and Chinese financial planners found the similarities and difference between the U.S. and Chinese financial planning practices which bring great benefit to mutual understanding.

This exchange program also gave the U.S. financial planners a comprehensive picture about China, including legislation, supervision, and financial institutions. We really treasure this exchange program and hope to get more cooperation and communication in the future.

{See complete coverage of the trip to China, including multiple blogs by traveling FPA members, on the FPA in China home page on