Tuesday, 29 January 2013 15:06
Interview: Noel Maye, chief executive of FPSB
Each month Financial Planner questions a leading figure in Financial Planning. This month we speak to Noel Maye, chief executive of the global Financial Planning Standards Board.
Financial Planner: The FPSB recently met for its global gathering at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. How did it go and what were the highlights?
Noel Maye: We felt the meeting was very successful. One highlight was hearing from David Geale (head of investment policy at the FSA) on the role of the new Financial Conduct Authority and how it intends to work with professional bodies. Another highlight was a presentation by John White and John Porteous of RSM Tenon on their company's journey to becoming a Financial Planning company.
FP: Why did the FPSB meet in Wales and what was the purpose of the meeting, what topics were discussed and what decisions were reached?
NM: FPSB has two global meetings a year, typically in April and October. Our April meeting is a working session at which our board of directors meets with the chief executives of our member organisations. Each October includes our annual FPSB Council meeting, at which delegates can vote to ratify major board decisions, such as the creation of new standards or changes to FPSB's bylaws. The theme of our meeting in Wales was "Leading the Financial Planning Profession," and the topics discussed included how FPSB should work with its key stakeholders, such as regulators and financial services firms, to promote Financial Planning as a global profession.
FP: Can you explain to readers who may not be too familiar with the FPSB what it does and what its aims are?
NM: FPSB is a nonprofit, professional standards- setting body for Financial Planning. Our vision is to establish Financial Planning as a distinct, globally- recognised profession. FPSB owns the international Certified Financial PlannerCM certification, and we enter into exclusive arrangements with organisations like the IFP to offer CFP certification around the world.
FP: What are the global numbers for CFPCM Professionals and what has the growth been over the past 12 months. What numbers do you expect over the next 12 months and in future years?
NM: At the end of 2011, there were 139,818 CFP professionals around the world and we're on track to approach 150,000 by early 2013. Our average annual growth rate runs between four and six per cent, so if our growth continues at current pace, we'll probably add between 6,500 to 7,500 new CFP professionals in 2013. Growth in future years will depend on how many new territories we add.
FP: What are the territories around the world where CFP Professional growth is strongest and are there likely to be any new territories opening up?
NM: Our fastest-growing territories include China, Brazil, Indonesia and India, but markets like the US, Japan and South Africa show strong growth as well. At the moment, we're working with organisations in Colombia and Israel to bring CFP certification to those territories and we've been in talks with a number of organisations in the Middle East this year to develop a regional programme.
FP: How is the FPSB shaping the growth of CFP Professionals worldwide and what are the common challenges that Financial Planners face around the world?
NM: One of the most common challenges that Financial Planners face around the world is communicating the value of Financial Planning and CFPCM certification to their key stakeholders. At the meeting in Wales, we discussed two major initiatives that the FPSB is undertaking to help clarify and communicate that value. First is our membership of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the global body for securities regulators. As a member, the FPSB will be able to educate regulators on what Financial Planning is, why it benefits consumers, and how CFP professionals distinguish themselves from other financial advisers. Second is our research with CFP professionals and firms. Through our ongoing research, we are able to demonstrate clear evidence of the value that CFP professionals bring to employers through revenue growth, risk reduction and client retention. Our outreach to regulators, firms, consumers and the media is intended to create awareness of, and demand for, CFP professionals worldwide.
FP: What are some of the key aims for the FPSB over the next few years in terms of professionalism?
NM: By the year 2015, our goal is for the FPSB and our member organisations to have some defined measures of success for establishing Financial Planning as a profession and be able to show progress on that path. We have already defined the criteria for acting as professional bodies and each of our member organisations has conducted a self- assessment against those criteria to determine their readiness. Over the next few years, we will continue our discussions around the gaps that need to be filled and refining our measures of success. We're also revisiting our global standards and certification requirements to ensure that they continue to be relevant and appropriate for professional Financial Planning.
FP: Former IFP President Barry Horner CFPCM was named recently as the Chairman-Elect of the FPSB. What is the role of the FPSB chairman?
NM: The FPSB Board Chairperson is the chief elected officer of FPSB Ltd and presides at all meetings of the FPSB Board of Directors, and other FPSB meetings as required. The FPSB Board Chairperson's primary job objective is to assure the integrity of the FPSB Board of Directors' process and represent the Board to outside parties. As chairperson-elect, Barry will be the chairperson of the FPSB Council (the forum for FPSB member organisations) and will represent the views of the Council to the Board of Directors. He will also work closely with Steve Helmich, who will be our 2013 Board Chairperson, to learn about FPSB and prepare to lead in 2014, which, by the way, is FPSB's 10-year anniversary.
FP: In what territories do you believe Financial Planning will grow quickest and are we likely to see most growth in the emerging economies?
NM: Without a doubt, our fastest growing market at present is China. In the first half of 2012 alone, the number of CFP professionals in China grew by more than 30 percent over 2011. We have also seen strong growth over the past few years in emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia and India and I predict that will continue.
FP: There was talk at the conference about the competition the CFP mark faces from other designations around the world. How is the FPSB working on this challenge?
NM: It's true that many different designations exist in the financial services world, but we're less concerned about competition from other credentials than we are about ensuring consumers are not confused or disenfranchised when seeking to work with a competent and ethical Financial Planner. The FPSB has developed a qualifications framework that includes consumer education, as well as guidance, education and standards to help financial services professionals throughout their careers. The framework will enable us to help Financial Planners stay current with the marketplace and meet the needs of their clients. We also see some other qualifications as being complementary, and may serve Financial Planners who wish to specialise in one or more areas.
FP: What are you proudest of in terms of FPSB achievements over the past 10 years?
NM: Ten years ago, the FPSB was an idea, generated by the then community of CFP certification bodies looking to create a truly global organisation, with a truly global vision, that would establish and promote a global Financial Planning profession, supported by a global CFP certification programme. I'm proud of that fact that so many people from so many territories came together across borders and ideologies to make that happen, and to support the ongoing mission and activities of the FPSB. I'm proud that our global community has supported the creation of global standards and certification requirements for CFP certification. And, more recently, I'm proud that, through our affiliate membership of IOSCO, the FPSB will bring the perspectives of the global Financial Planning community to global regulatory debates.
FP: How long have you been involved with the FPSB and can you tell us about your background and your role with the FPSB?
NM: In the early 2000s, I was in charge of the international division of the CFP Board (the US CFP marks owner) when the International CFP Council and CFP Board started discussing a new model to manage the international CFP certification programme. I was tasked with supporting the creation of a new organisation that would own the CFP marks outside the US. The FPSB launched officially on 1 December 2004, and I became its chief executive.
FP: How did you and other delegates unwind in Wales. Was there a chance for delegates to sample local culture?
NM: Of course, at the Celtic Manor Resort in South Wales, a few people took in a round of golf, and many of the delegates added time on the trip to do some touring in the UK countryside. On the way to our dinner at Caldicot Castle, one of the buses unfortunately got stuck in the mud for about an hour, so dinner that evening involved survival stories, mead and songs. The FPSB community had a great business meeting in Wales, aided in large part by the hospitality of the IFP and the local people.
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