CFP Board conducts regular Job Analyses to identify the important tasks performed by financial planners and assess the knowledge and skills needed to perform these tasks.
Background and Findings
CFP Board's Job Task Analysis (JTA) is the largest research project in the U.S. related to the body of knowledge for financial planning. The research reveals insights into the tasks currently being performed by CFP® professionals and the knowledge requirements needed to fulfill and serve the interests of clients, and its results are used to verify and update the content of CFP Board’s examination and education requirements.
Conducted every 5 years, in partnership with a major testing firm, the JTA research of the practice of financial planning incorporates a multi-method approach that involves a number of subject-matter experts, an analysis of emerging trends in the profession, and a large-scale survey of practicing CFP® professionals and educators from CFP Board-Registered Programs.
2015 Job Task Analysis
Our most recent results, the 2015 Job Task Analysis, include updated lists of Principal Knowledge Topics and Financial Planning Job Task Domains. The 2015 Principal Knowledge Topics are the basis of CFP Board’s CFP® Certification Examination blueprint, serve as the curricular framework for CFP Board’s education requirement, and represent the topics CFP Board will accept for continuing education credit.
The 2015 Job Task Analysis incorporates broad-based input from practicing CFP® professionals, educators from CFP Board-registered academic programs, and subject-matter experts who work to consider practice and emerging trends in financial planning. The study was conducted over the course of a year and was validated by more than 3,700 CFP® professionals and educators. In addition to updated lists of Principal Knowledge Topics and Financial Planning Job Task Domains, the 2015 study identified Contextual Variables that are to be considered when dealing with specific financial planning situations.
The 2015 Job Task Analysis findings indicated five areas are most top of mind for today’s practicing financial planners:
- Retirement Savings and Income Planning
- Education Planning
- Holistic and Integrated Financial Planning
- Debt Management
2015 Principal Knowledge Topics
The Principal Knowledge Topics have served as the blueprint for the CFP® Certification Examination since March 2016. Each exam question is linked to one of the following Principal Knowledge Topics, in the approximate percentages indicated with the general category headings.
The Principal Knowledge Topics also serve as a curricular framework for CFP Board’s education requirement and the subject topics CFP Board accepts for continuing education credit.
2015 Job Task Domains
The Job Task Domains are used to provide context for developing content for the CFP® Certification Examination and other case-based scenarios.
In addition to the Principal Knowledge Topics and the Financial Planning Job Task Domains, other important variables are to be considered when dealing with specific financial planning situations. These are referred to as “Contextual Variables” and are used as part of content development for the CFP® Certification Examination or other case-based scenarios.
More specifically, financial planning situations require the application of financial planning knowledge for different types of clients. Important client details to consider as part of financial planning situations are:
- Family Status (traditional family, single parent, same-sex couples, blended families, widowhood)
- Net Worth (ultra-high net worth, high net worth, mass affluent, emerging affluent, mass market)
- Income Level (high, medium, low)
- Life or Professional Stage (student, starting a career, career transition, pre-retirement)
- Other Circumstances (health issues, divorce, change of employment status, aging parents, special needs children)