Academic journal article Financial Services Review

Personal Financial Planning Education in Australian Universities

Academic journal article Financial Services Review

Personal Financial Planning Education in Australian Universities

Article excerpt

Abstract

Personal financial planning in Australia is drawing interest from a wide range of groups including consumers, regulators, the financial services industry, accountants, and educators. This paper reflects on the development of the Australian financial planning industry, focusing on its historical background and the relevant regulatory environment. This article then provides a descriptive analysis of the availability of dedicated financial planning courses currently available in Australian universities at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The Australian findings suggest the existence of considerable research opportunities to study professionalism in financial planning and the fundamental role that education plays in this process.

© 2006 Academy of Financial Services. All rights reserved.

Jel classifications: D14; G20; 123; 128

Key Words: Personal financial planning; Australian universities; Higher education courses; History of Australian financial planning; Regulatory environment

1. Introduction

To date no comprehensive academic study has been undertaken in Australia to determine the extent of available education courses in the relatively new but quickly growing industry of personal financial planning. This paper identifies and presents a descriptive analysis of the availability of dedicated financial planning courses currently available in Australian universities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Such courses offer students a clear, distinct and articulated career pathway towards future practice as a financial planner (Bennett, 2003). This article reflects on the Australian regulatory environment for financial planning and the development of financial planning as an industry, highlighting the fundamental role that education plays as the industry strives for professional recognition.

The emergence of specialist courses in financial planning at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels is a compelling indicator that academic institutions are now recognizing financial planning as a distinct discipline. This trend is further supported by the fact that the Australian Financial Planning Association (FPA) is effectively lifting the bar for education by requiring a Certified Financial Planner to be degree qualified from 2007 (Beaman, 2003). An undergraduate degree in financial planning will become the preferred and most direct pathway for entry to the CFP professional education course. Attaining the CFP designation will then depend upon completion of this educational component as well as satisfying a certification assessment examination, fulfilling relevant experience requirements and adhering to an industry code of ethics.

The paper is organized as follows. section 2 outlines the significance of the research for a variety of user groups including students, dealers and consumers. The next section reflects on the development of the Australian financial planning industry, highlighting its historical background and providing an overview of the regulatory environment and the importance of education to its continuing development. section 4 centers on the methodology used and the processes undertaken to acquire the data. section 5 is an examination of the results and the final section provides a discussion of the issues raised and considers future directions for financial planning education and associated research.

2. Significance of the research

This section of the paper concentrates on a variety of user groups who will benefit from this research. Prospective students, academics, dealers, consumers, regulators and professional bodies will be assisted in navigating the current financial planning educational landscape. By charting this landscape, the information in this study allows such user groups to view in one document the full array of financial planning courses available in Australia at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. …

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