Skip to main content Skip to local navigation
Home » Bachelor of Commerce » Degree Options » Finance » Financial Planning Stream

Financial Planning Stream

Financial planning is the process of understanding an individual’s full financial situation and developing a plan to help them meet their goals in a way that maximizes the allocation of their financial resources. It is an ongoing process that doesn’t end at just building a financial plan. You will also help your clients implement the plan, monitor their progress, and revise the plan as needed.

Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) certification

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification is the world’s most recognized financial planning designation. It is considered the 'gold standard’ for the profession and is offered only by FP Canada. CFP professionals have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, experience, and ethics to examine their clients’ entire financial picture, at the highest level of complexity required of the profession and work with their clients to build a financial plan so that they can Live Life Confidently™. York offers a fully online program, comprised of six 12-week courses, that provides you with everything you need to sit for the CFP® Exam. 

How do I become a CFP® Professional?

FP Canada, a national professional body working in the public interest, sets the requirements for CFP® certification.

There are two slightly different routes to become a CFP, and one of them grants a lower level form of certification as a first step (the Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ or QAFP™). The CFP® designation requires three years of qualifying work experience and the QAFP™ requires one-year of qualifying work experience.

  1. Complete an FP Canada approved core and advanced curriculum educational program. York’s program includes both the core and advanced curricula and is explained below. 
  2. Complete the FP Canada Professional Education Program (PEP) and Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE). York offers these as part of our CFP curriculum. 
  3. Pass the CFP® Examination 
  4. Complete three years of work experience. This experience can be before, during or after you pass the CFP® Exam. 
  5. Apply for the CFP® certification. 

As an alternative, you can take an intermediate certification, the Qualified Associate Financial Planner™ (QAFP™). You can stop at the QAFP™ or continue to finish the CFP® Certification.

  1. Complete an FP Canada approved core curriculum educational program. York’s program is explained below. 
  2. Complete the FP Canada Professional Education Program (PEP) and Introduction to Professional Ethics (IPE). York offers these as part of our CFP curriculum. 
  3. Pass the QAFP examination. 
  4. Complete one year of Qualifying work experience. This experience can be before, during or after you pass the CFP® Exam. 
  5. Apply for the QAFP™ certification. 

Why become a professional financial planner?

Financial planning is an in-demand profession that directly contributes to the wellbeing of society. As a successful financial planner, you will be a trusted partner through all phases of your clients’ lives. You will help them manage their everyday and complex financial needs with a plan that fits their diverse and changing circumstances. Your ongoing guidance will help build their financial confidence.

Financial planners are highly sought-after and have a diverse range of professional opportunities, including retail banking, wealth management, boutique financial services firms and also, as independent professionals.

Why earn a professional designation?

Getting certified is important because it demonstrates that an individual meets stringent proficiency and ethics requirements, including high levels of education and experience.

  1. Knowledge and skills: Confirms that you have the knowledge, skills, experience and ethics to provide financial advice
  2. Professional responsibility: Confirms your commitment to the highest ethical standards
  3. Professional brand: Demonstrates your value to employers and clients
  4. Regulatory requirements: Ensures that you keep pace with evolving legal and regulatory requirements
  5. Trust: Fosters trust in the advice Canadians receive from you

The School of Administrative Studies at York is a Certified Education Provider

This is where we come in. If you wish to become a QAFP™ or CFP® Professional, you must take the courses at an approved institution. You register with FP Canada to become a student pursuing the CFP® designation, but you must also register with York, just like any other university student. Details of what you must do depend on your specific situation.

York offers an integrated program that combines CFP® Core Curriculum Education Program and the Advanced Curriculum. Completing the program will provide you with the educational requirements needed to take either the QAFP™ or the CFP® Exam. Based on your circumstances, you can choose to complete the courses necessary in the Financial Planning Certificate or as part of your undergraduate degree. Once you complete the courses at York, you will have everything you need to sit for the CFP® Exam or the QAFPTM Exam.

Getting Admitted

York offers both a certificate in financial planning as well as a full BCom in Finance. Which route you choose depends on your specific situation:

Effective April 2022, a bachelor’s degree is required to obtain the Certified Financial Planner® designation. The only way for non-York students to take these courses without a prior degree is to enrol in the BCom degree program. Admissions material is available on the Future Students website. You will have to take a substantial number of courses before you can take the courses required for the CFP® designation, all of which are in third and fourth year. Almost the entire BCom in Finance can be taken online, and we are working to convert the full stream online.

If you have already graduated or if you haven’t graduated and haven’t been enrolled in the most recent past Fall/Winter session, you must reactivate your record. If your degree is in business, you may already have the necessary prerequisites; otherwise you will have to take more than the courses that form the curriculum in financial planning.

Students in the BCom degree program should elect to take a finance major, which is an honours degree, and use the core curriculum courses as part of the requirements for their major. To complete the requirements for the BCom Honours Finance and complete the core curriculum for the CFP, you must take at least three additional electives, at least two of which must be in finance. Be sure to read all the calendar requirements for the BCom Honours Finance. This brief summary is not a substitute for the complete program rules,

You must apply for admission as a “visiting” student to take our courses, but if you have a recognized university degree you will likely qualify. If your degree is in business you may already have the necessary prerequisites; otherwise you will have to take more than the courses that form the curriculum in financial planning. If your original degree was non-business, taking the Certificate will probably be the most efficient way to do it.

You can enrol in the financial planning courses if you meet the pre requisites, which will require students outside the BCom to take several prerequisite courses. BCom students will receive preference over other students for enrolling in these courses, which may cause you some difficulty, although at the present time there is space in the most advanced fourth year courses. Students who do not have a 5.5 GPA should not attempt to take these courses. Students in Economics will have the easiest road to taking the financial planning core curriculum due to the prerequisites, but all students outside the BCom program must consult with the adviser in their own degree program to make sure they meet all of its requirements while taking these other courses. You may find that the Certificate is the best route for you to follow, and you might be able to finish your degree and start working while continuing to complete the Certificate.

Program Options

We offer an Undergraduate Certificate in Financial Planning, approved by FP Canada, that covers the core and advanced curriculum. This Certificate contains the same courses as you would take in the financial planning stream portion of the B Com. Any student wishing to take this Certificate needs to meet York University standards for admission, as well as prerequisites in the Certificate, but it would not require an entire degree. A student has to take a minimum of six courses (each one is 12 weeks long) to get the Certificate. There are several prerequisite courses, so this minimum number of courses will apply only to students who have already taken a number of university-level business, economics and finance courses. You may count these courses from other universities as part of the certificate, as long as you take at least six courses at York from the list, and do not use the York courses as part of any other degree at York. You will have noticed that in previous paragraph and elsewhere we refer to seven courses in the program, but only six are required for a certificate. If you are following the certificate route it is possible that you would have taken a course already at York, or at some other institution, that is equivalent to one of the seven courses, and hence you would need only the other six to get the Certificate.

Note: The Financial Planning Certificate is only open to applicants who already have an undergraduate university degree or who are enrolled in a degree program at York already.

Starting in 2022, a bachelor’s degree is required for to earn the CFP® designation. If you do not have a degree, then your best course of action is to complete a full undergraduate program.

Core and Advanced Curriculum Program

Our certified BCom Honours Finance degree program and the Financial Planning Certificate provide the following six courses that are the required core and advanced curriculum, as approved by FP Canada:

  • AP/ADMS 3520 Introduction to Canadian Taxation
  • AP/ADMS 3531 Personal Investment Management
  • AP/ADMS 3541 Personal Financial Planning
  • AP/ADMS 4505 Retirement and Estate Planning
  • AP/ADMS 4507 Insurance and Other Finance Topics
  • AP/ADMS 4506 Professional Financial Planning (FP Institute’s PEP and IPE programs)

Descriptions for all the finance courses in SAS can be found on the York Courses website.

  • ADMS 3520, 3531 and 3541 are offered in all three semesters and are generally offered in the evenings (7 – 10 pm), during the day, and online. These courses are pre-requisites for ADMS 4505 and ADMS 4507.
  • ADMS 4505 is offered online once a year – usually in the Fall semester.
  • ADMS 4507 is offered online twice a year – usually in the fall and winter semesters.
  • ADMS 4506 is offered online once per year – usually in the Winter semester. Please note that ADMS 3520, 3531, 3541, 4505 and 4507 all need to be completed before taking ADMS 4506.
  • ADMS 4501 Advanced Portfolio Management
  • ADMS 4502 Ethics for Investment Managers
  • ADMS 4508 Money Behaviours and Client Communication
  • ADMS 4537 Sustainable Investing
  • ADMS 4561 Personal Income Taxation