Johannesburg: The REGISTERED FINANCIAL PRACTITIONER™ (RFP) professional designation has come a long way since its inception in 2019 as a result of the change from the REGISTERED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional designation.
Subsequently the designation became so highly credible that it became registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in 2021.
The reason by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa NPC (FPI) to make an application to the SAQA for the changing of the RFP™ designation from Registered Financial Planner to Registered Financial Practitioner was to accommodate changes and updates that had been promulgated by the Financial Sector Conduct Regulator (FSCA) (previously then Financial Services Board (FSB) in 2014, through the South African Retail Distribution Review (RDR) document which contains 55 proposals with regards to the distribution of financial products in South Africa as well as the levels of financial services provided by advisors and planners.
This entailed that there would be three types of ‘Adviser’ to be defined – (1) Independent Financial Advisers, (2) Multi-tied Advisers and (3) Tied Advisers. This meant that any person providing financial advice to customers would only be permitted to do so in one of those capacities. Furthermore, advisers would also only be permitted to use one of the three terms to describe their status. But an adviser that also qualifies as a financial planner would also be able to use the additional designation of ‘financial planner’.
These standards would also be determined with reference to corresponding standards set by appropriate professional associations.
The overall intention was to protect the terms ‘financial planning’ and ‘financial planner’. The term referred to in the RDR for financial planner refers to the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® where the underlying qualification is set on an NQF 8 level. The underlying qualification for the RFP™ designation is set on an NQF 5 level.
To enable the FPI to keep the RFP™ designation, it needed to change the designation to Registered Financial Practitioner as the term ‘financial planner’ is linked to the CFP® designation and not the RFP™ designation. Keeping it as ‘planner’, would have meant that the underlying qualification linked to a financial planner as described in the RDR is effectively changed to an underlying NQF 5 qualification – which was not the intention of the proposals in the RDR document.
The FPI is proud of maintaining the standards and credibility of its designations. To this end, we will always endeavour to make the necessary and required changes to accommodate legislative changes that affect the industry.
By the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa