Increasing retirees add to booming financial planning field: First B.C. University gets CFP registered status

As one of only 800 people worldwide to have secured both a certified financial planner CFP™ and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, it's no surprise that the Trinity Western University professor is the champion behind securing the university's registered status with the Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC). TWU is now one of only six universities in Canada offering a bachelor-level CFP education program, and the only one in B.C.

“There are presently only 16,000 CFP practitioners in Canada,” explains Korb, “one for every 2,000 people. Half of these practitioners will retire in the next five to ten years. So there is a widening need which will only rise as the population ages and the need for retirement and estate planning increases.”

Currently, the Canadian Pension Plan provides only 40% of what's needed to retire, which means Canadians need to come up with the other 60%. A percentage that, according to Korb, will likely increase for Canadians below the age of 50, making retirement planning even more essential.

“When it comes to planning your financial future, you need be selective with who will be advising you,” says Korb. “It's a complex environment. You need an advisor with a background in finance, and one who is a trustworthy individual with your best interests in mind—not someone who will put your investments into the highest commission and then leave you.”

Korb explains that any person can call themself a financial planner, but only a CFP licencee has been officially designated, meeting the rigorous educational and professional requirements, and subsequently maintaining accountability through the FPSC licensing board.

Officially established nine years ago, the financial planning field in Canada is expected to mushroom as the demand for licensed Certified Financial Planner practitioners increases. The FPSC is obviously anticipating this growth, since two eastern universities were awarded registered status along with TWU, doubling the number of bachelor-level CFP programs from three to six. And though several higher education institutions currently offer CFP education, Korb says offering a bachelor degree program this side of Manitoba is a must.

“The pass rate of the last exam was 55%,” he explains. “So the question is, is the exam hard, or are the people just not prepared? In my view, they're ill-prepared. Core business courses and a solid business background in addition to the required courses will better prepare students. Until now, that hasn't been available in B.C.”

In the U.S., by January 2007, CFP candidates will not be certified unless they have a bachelor degree. Korb says that Canada's CFP field will likely follow the same pattern of growth as the 32-year-old field in the U.S. And Korb should know—he's been a U.S.-certified CFP licensee longer than the designation has existed in Canada.

With a bachelor of science degree in Management from the U.S. Air Force Academy—a university ranked next to Yale and Harvard—and an MBA in Finance with distinction from the University of Michigan—Wall Street Journal's number two pick from MBA programs in the world—Korb brings his top-ranking education to TWU students. And after teaching finance at West Point (the U.S. Military Academy), Korb also started his own financial planning company which he successfully ran for the next eight years.

“I really enjoyed my business and my clients, but I guess it was one of those mid-life crisis things,” he says. “I realized there were so many more people's lives I could impact. As I was going through the decision process, I realized I really loved teaching finance. TWU ended up contacting me and it was just a perfect match,” he says.

Korb says that one part of TWU's School of Business that he appreciates is the direct application. “We're not about teaching theory only,” he says. “We're about teaching theory with application to the real world.” Korb says that application was one of the prime drivers to register a CFP education program.

“We want our students to graduate and be successful in whatever their profession is,” he continues. “If they want to be a financial planners, than we want them to graduate not just with the knowledge, but with the ability to sit through the CFP exam and then to get their licence and be successful in the field.”

Last Updated: 2015-07-17
Author: Keela Keeping