Next Generation Certification Standards

Want to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®? The Financial Planning Institute introduces the Next Generation Certification Standards.

Nici Macdonald, CFP®, Head of Certification and Standards, FPI

The FPI is excited to introduce the Next Generation Certification Standards for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (CFP®) designation. The assessment process to become a CFP® professional member of the FPI will be amended from 1 January 2025 to align closely with the current international requirements for CFP® certification.

Why we are changing

When determining the competencies of financial planner candidates, the FPI assesses both their knowledge and whether they possess the required financial planning skills and abilities.

In line with international trends, the FPI is adapting the assessment processes for CFP® to include a practical component in the form of a Capstone1 course and a financial plan assessment.

The entire assessment process, across the four Es required for certification (education, examination, experience and ethics), is being streamlined. This will ensure that a new CFP® professional is evaluated practically across the knowledge, skills and abilities components of financial planning, which includes the drafting of a financial plan.

What is changing?

The CFP® professional competency examination in its current format will be discontinued at the end of 2024. From 2025, candidates on the two different pathways to CFP® certification will be required to complete the steps as shown in the table successfully.




Obtain the recognised underlying qualification at an FPI recognised education provider.

Complete the qualification’s Integrated Case Study Module from 2024 onward to assess the knowledge component for certification.
Complete the Capstone course (practical online course on how to apply the knowledge component in practice).
Successfully complete the mentorship programme.
Submit a financial plan as the final form of examination assessment for knowledge, skills and abilities.
Prove three years’ relevant financial planning experience as assessment for skills and abilities.
Complete the mentorship programme as assessment for skills and abilities.
Adherence to the Code of Ethics and professional responsibility and practice standards.
CFP® pathway




Hold an advanced degree or designation as approved per the current challenge examination criteria.Pass the FPI multiple choice CFP® examination for knowledge assessment for entry into the Capstone course.
Complete the Capstone course.
Submit a financial plan as the final form of examination assessment for knowledge, skills and abilities.
Prove five years’ relevant financial planning experience as assessment for skills and abilities.Adherence to the Code of Ethics and professional responsibility and practice standards.

How does it affect candidates on our CFP® pathway?

If you obtained your recognised underlying qualification during or before 2023, you will be encouraged to complete the FPI Professional Competency Examination (PCE) in its current format before the end of 2024. Should you not attempt the PCE, or not be successful in passing the PCE at this time, you will have to complete the three components of the CFP® RPL pathway examination requirement from 2025 onwards (multiple choice examination, Capstone course and financial plan).

The FPI encourages all qualifying candidates to complete this examination and apply for CFP® membership as soon as possible. There will be four examination opportunities available in 2024.

Visit to register for the February (8-9) or April (25-26) PCE exams.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will the FPI ensure that the standard of new entrants to the CFP® designation is upheld?

Although the process and method of assessment is changing, it is still based on the global international standards and requirements for CFP® professionals. Education requirements are still set at an NQF level 8, and the Capstone course will allow candidates to apply the knowledge in practice. The financial plan assessment will evaluate whether candidates have mastered the skills and abilities to apply this knowledge at the level expected of a CFP® professional.

Does this mean that I must write an extra examination to become a CFP® professional?

The above should not be seen as an additional examination but rather a different format of assessment in that the candidates will from 2025 onwards not write “another” exam, but rather submit a portfolio of evidence (financial plan) after completing the Capstone course. The exam written at the universities, from 2025 onwards, will be the standard-setting examination that tests for minimum competence across all FPI-recognised educational providers. Only candidates who obtained their qualification before or during 2023 who do not attempt or pass the PCE by the end of 2024 will be required to also pass the multiple-choice examination to gain access to the Capstone course.

Will the costs for completing the Capstone course and submitting a financial plan be significantly different to the current PCE examination fees?

No. The FPI will ensure that the cost for candidates is similar to the registration cost of the PCE in its current form.

What is Capstone course format?

The Capstone course will be an online course with an eight to 10-week timeline to completion. It will run throughout the year and will include live sessions, pre-recorded material, reading material and various types of assessments, etc. It will be aimed at assisting candidates to apply the knowledge obtained in the education requirement to the everyday practice of financial planning.

How will the financial plan assessment work?

After completion of the Capstone course, a candidate will be provided with a case study. This candidate will have a prescribed time to develop and submit a financial plan to the FPI that meets the requirements for a financial plan as prescribed. Once submitted, this financial plan will follow an assessment process by the FPI to determine whether the candidate has met the competency requirement for this assessment component.

What are the dates for the examinations and how do I register?

Visit our website at or email for more information.

1 A Capstone course is a project that serves as the culminating and integrative praxis experience of an educational programme. It is the final culmination of a learning experience, in this case, the combination of the knowledge, skills and abilities a candidate has to master during their studies.

2 Recognition of Prior Learning