How Many Financial Planner Certification in Malaysia?

Updated on 5th July 2021

To be honest, when I decided to take up the Certified Financial Planner Certification earlier on, I did not consider comparing it with other courses in the country because I trusted the friend who introduced it to me, and since then, I never looked back and never regretted taking up the CFP Certification.

If you are new in the financial planner certification in Malaysia and got confused with which, how, or what? Allow me to share with you my perspective and hopefully, I can do justice to both of the courses as well which will be based on my understanding and information gathered from the respective website. Since I still progressing on the CFP Certification, therefore I will be using CFP modules as a foundation of comparison.

ModulesCERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Registered Financial Planner
1Foundation in Financial Planning and Tax PlanningFundamentals of Financial Planning (Module 1) + Zakat & Tax Planning (Module 4)
2Insurance Planning & Estate PlanningRisk Management & Insurance Planning (Module 2) + Estate Planning (Module 5)
3Investment Planning and Retirement PlanningInvestment Planning (Module 3) + Retirement Planning (Module 6)
4Financial Plan Construction and Professional ResponsibilitiesApplications in Financial Planning (Module 7)
Direct Link
NOTE: The content displayed on the table is as good as of 27th Feb 2020 12th May 2021.

If you have visited both websites shared as mentioned in the table above then you will notice that both courses offered a total of 7 main topics (based on the heading) and the visible difference between them is how the topics are being structured and an additional topic on Zakat; for students taking the CFP Certification, we will have to study go through 4 modules whereas RFP students will be studying them in 7 different modules. There is nothing to shout about on which is better if we are to compare based on the topics itself apart from having an additional topic on Zakat within the Registered Financial Planner (RFP) course, which is to cater to Malaysia’s context.

Now, I may sound bias just because I am a CFP student but do hear me out before you conclude anything.

CFP as a Certification and a trademarked brand is internationally recognized. Since its establishment in the early 1970s in the United States and of today has established itself in 27 countries and territories. From my perspective, they are the association that sets the benchmark of Financial Planning around the world. You may want to read more about them here.

Whereas RFP is a local branded program that was introduced by the former Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in November 2002. The structure of the program is as quoted from their website as a “Malaysianized syllabus”. Therefore, I believe the structure and how it will be delivered will be very much from a Malaysian context. Now, there is nothing wrong with being delivered in a Malaysian context, because after all it is created in Malaysia and it should be relevant to the students and the students will be able to apply it directly into their practices.

Having said so, I noticed that most of Malaysia’s insurance companies if not all would promote and emphasize to their agents to take up the RFP program compared to the CFP Certification as part of their career development in the industry. I am not sure is a directive instruction from the management or are they intentionally wanted to support a home-developed program because I heard it was subsidized and is cheaper if you are taking the exam as a life insurance agent (correct me if I am wrong). Hence, it gives me the impression that RFP is developed specifically to cater to life insurance agents and the rest in general.

In my humble opinion, the CFP Certification too, if we dive into the subtopics are designed for Malaysia’s context but not as detailed as RFP courses because after all, the purpose of taking up the course is to understand the theories and thereafter learn to apply them in the practical term. So, in class, we have an in-depth discussion on how we can turn theories into practical usage and since we also have international students in the class, we also exchanged ideas and practices adopted by the respective countries. Hence, as a CFP student (at least in classes that I followed) I have a wider perspective because, in practice, a client may also have assets and business outside of Malaysia. So, having to understand how other country works is of great benefit too.

In my next post, I will be sharing my reference point for financial planning based on the books that I have read, the influencer that I followed, and podcasts that I have heard for almost 2 years as a CFP student.

*Note: The title financial planner and financial adviser is a regulated profession by the Securities Commission Malaysia and Central Bank of Malaysia respectively.

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