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The Institute's CE Accreditation Services – FAQ

What is The Institute's CE Accreditation Service?

The Institute for Advanced Financial Education, the designation granting and standard setting body of Advocis, is the leading CE accreditation body in the financial services industry. The Institute's CE Accreditation Services uses a world-class accreditation tool that evaluates educational programs available to advisors and planners. The Institute's accreditation process is based on the Practice Guidelines for Financial Advisors and Planners, a substantive 30-page framework that explains the knowledge, ability, and behaviour necessary for financial advisors and planners to perform their job duties and associated tasks both competently and ethically.

What is Institute-accredited CE?

Institute-accredited CE refers to any continuing education that has been formally reviewed by and has successfully met the requirements of The Institute's CE Accreditation Services. All material submitted to The Institute's CE Accreditation Services is evaluated against the Practice Guidelines for Financial Advisors and Planners.

How do I find Institute-accredited CE programs?
  • Access the more than 5,500 CE credits currently on file (by provider here) and (by Practice Competencies, Behaviours & Ethics here).
  • Learn more about the CE Accreditation Services here.

If you cannot find the CE provider you are looking for, email us at accreditation@iafe.ca and we will follow up with the education provider.

How is accredited CE audited?

Any CE that has been accredited by The Institute's CE Accreditation Services is audit-proof. Only non-accredited CE credits will be audited in the event that a member has not already providedverification of these credits. All Advocis-delivered Institute-accredited CE is automatically uploaded to the Advocis CE Credit Tracking database, which is accessible from your Advocis profile and is available to anyone who completes an Advocis CE program – whether an Advocis member or not. This database also allows manual inclusion of any other CE activity completed (accredited or otherwise).

Do all Institute-accredited CE credits qualify for provincial licensing requirements (where required) and/or other designations like the CFP®, for instance?

Accredited CE offers near universal assurance that CE will be accepted by all organizations, regulators and licensing bodies in the financial services industry. In our experience, the provincial authorities look favourably on Institute-accredited CE. The Institute, however, cannot speak on behalf of other organizations. It is the responsibility of participants to confirm that Institute-accredited and Institute-approved CE meet the CE requirements of other relevant organizations and provincial licensing bodies.

What is the FPSC CE Approval Program?

In October 2012, Financial Planning Standards Council® (FPSC®) introduced a CE pre-approval program for CFP® professionals, which allows CE providers to submit their activities to FPSC for review and approval. With this approval, they can then promote the activity and the number of approved CE credits based on its relevancy to the CFP® Professional Competency Profile and to financial planning.

Does Institute-accredited CE qualify as FPSC-approved CE?

Since the introduction of the CE Accreditation Services, The Institute has observed that in excess of 99% of Institute-accredited CE credits have passed the scrutiny of the Financial Planning Standards Council® (FPSC®) CE audit process. Therefore, we believe that these reports, which accompany all Advocis CE certificates, will give you the necessary documentation to demonstrate alignment with FPSC CE requirements. All Advocis CE certificates and CE Decision Reports are included in .pdf format in the Advocis CE database. These reports can also be obtained from the CE provider following completion of an Institute-accredited program.

Effective January 2014, with the new CE guidelines for CFP® professionals now in effect, The Institute amended its CE Decision Reports to include a statement outlining areas of alignment with the CFP® Professional Competency Profile. A sample Institute CE Accreditation Decision Report can be found here. Should the applicability of an Institute-accredited program be questioned by the FPSC (or any other jurisdiction) in an audit situation, please contact us at accreditation@iafe.ca for assistance.

Are the courses leading to the CLU® designation FPSC-approved?
The Institute does not submit courses leading to an industry-recognized designation to any body for CE pre-approval or CE accreditation. Specifically, the CLU courses have not been submitted to FPSC pre-approval for the following reasons:
  1. The FPSC recognizes the CLU designation as one of the "allied credentials" within its Approved Prior Credential Policy.
  2. The CLU is an advanced designation that expands on the knowledge gained in the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) education program with a focus on estate planning and wealth transfer. The CLU is governed by The Institute Board of Trustees and requires ongoing maintenance requirements in order to maintain the designation, including adherence to a code of professional conduct, annual continuing-education requirement, and payment of an annual designation licensing-fee.
  3. The Institute's CE Accreditation Services does not require education programs leading to recognized designations in the financial-services industry to be submitted for accreditation if they meet the following minimum standards:
    1. Be comprised of three or more courses requiring a minimum of 30 study hours each with successful completion confirmed through an impartial assessment requiring a score of at least 60%
    2. Require an annual CE requirement to maintain status in good standing
    3. Require adherence to a published code of professional conduct
    4. Have a published disciplinary policy to arbitrate breaches of its code of professional conduct
  4. Advocis and The Institute believe that the education content in the CLU education program courses Advanced Taxation (137 study hours excluding evaluations), Law (45 study hours excluding evaluations) and Advanced Estate Planning (133 study hours excluding evaluations) meet the continuing-education guidelines set by Financial Planning Standards Council® (FPSC®). Considering the extensiveness of these three courses, The Institute equates each to be eligible for 40 Verifiable CE credits. According to the FPSC Continuing Education Guidelines, CFP professionals have the option of carrying over up to a maximum of 25 credits to the next calendar year (see FPSC for further details).

What if the FPSC rejects CE credits from the CLU courses as meeting the FPSC Verifiable CE requirement?

Should the applicability of an Institute-accredited program be questioned by the FPSC – or any other jurisdiction – in an audit situation, please contact The Institute's CE Accreditation Services at accreditation@iafe.ca.

Are courses leading to the CLU designation recognized by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)?

As per IIROC Dealer Member Rule 2900, Part III successful completion of courses leading to CLU® certification are eligible toward the professional development requirement.

Are the courses leading to the CHS® designation FPSC-approved?

The Institute does not submit courses leading to an industry recognized designation to any organization for CE pre-approval or CE accreditation. The following reasons the CHS courses specifically have not been submitted to FPSC pre-approval are:

  1. The CHS is governed by The Institute Board of Trustees and requires ongoing maintenance requirements in order to maintain the designation, including adherence to a code of professional conduct, an annual continuing-education requirement and payment of an annual designation licensing-fee.
  2. The Institute's CE Accreditation Services does not require education programs leading to recognized designations in the financial-services industry to be submitted for accreditation should they meet the following minimum standards:
    1. Be comprised of three or more courses requiring a minimum of 30 study hours each with successful completion confirmed through an impartial assessment requiring a score of at least 60%
    2. Require an annual CE requirement to maintain status in good standing
    3. Require adherence to a published code of professional conduct
    4. Have a published disciplinary policy to arbitrate breaches of its code of professional conduct
Advocis and The Institute believe that the education content in the CHS education program courses Disability (76 study hours excluding evaluations) and Critical Illness, Long-term Care and Group Living Benefits (83 hours excluding evaluations) meet the continuing-education guidelines set by FPSC. Considering the extensiveness of these courses, The Institute equates each to be eligible for 40 Verifiable CE credits. According to the FPSC Continuing Education Guidelines, CFP professionals have the option of carrying over up to a maximum of 25 credits to the next calendar year (see FPSC for further details). The CHS elective courses do not qualify as CE for CFP professionals as these courses are part of the CCH/Advocis CFP® Certification Program, which is an FPSC approved CFP® Core Curriculum program.

What if the FPSC rejects CE credits from the CHS courses as meeting the FPSC Verifiable CE requirement?

If the suitability of an Institute-accredited program is questioned by the FPSC – or any other jurisdiction – in an audit situation, please contact The Institute's CE Accreditation Services at accreditation@iafe.ca.

What if I hold both the CLU and CHS designations?

Institute designation holders who have obtained both the CLU and CHS designations are only required to complete a total of 30 CE credits (a maximum of 15 CE credits can be professional development. General Professional Development CE credits must be industry-related (courses, seminars, etc.), and may be subject to The Institute's review); this meets both the 30 CE credit requirement for the CLU designation and the 10 CE credit requirement for the CHS designation.

Does The Institute allow the carry-over of CE credits from one renewal cycle to the next?

CE credit carry-over policy for the CLU and CHS designations was initially approved at the April 2013 Board of Trustees' meeting and further clarified at their meeting in April 2015.

Carry-over of CE credits for CLU Designation-holders. Carry-over of up to 15 CE credits (or equivalent) from one renewal cycle to the next is based on the following criteria. Please note that professional development CE is not eligible for carry-over.

  • Up to 15 (fifteen) Institute-accredited CE credits may be carried-over from one renewal cycle to the next;
  • Up to 15 (fifteen) hours obtained from the successful completion of Institute designation courses may be carried over as equivalent to Institute-accredited CE. For example, three hours carried-over would qualify as the equivalent of three Institute-accredited CE. It is the responsibility of the designation holder to maintain the necessary documentation in the event of an audit.
  • Up to 15 (fifteen) hours obtained from the successful completion of a course leading to a recognized designation may be carried over as equivalent to Institute-accredited CE (e.g., CA, CFA, CEBS, CFP, CGA, CIM, CMA, CMP, CSWP, EPC, FCSI, MTI, PFP, RFP, RPA, TEP). For example, three hours carried-over would qualify as the equivalent of three Institute-accredited CE. It is the responsibility of the designation holder to maintain the necessary documentation in the event of an audit.


EXAMPLE ONE:

In 2016, a CLU designation-holder completes Course 231 toward her CFP designation and receives 30 CE. She also attends Update 2016 and completes the self-study courses to earn a further 12 CE. She records the CE on her on-line record at advocis.ca and is entitled to carry-over 12 Institute-accredited CE for 2017.

EXAMPLE TWO:

In 2016, a CLU designation-holder completes his STEP Diploma in International Trust Management, a course that recommends four-to-six hours of study per week should be undertaken for a period of four-to-six months prior to the examination'. He records the CE on his on-line record at advocis.ca and is entitled to carry-forward the equivalent of 15 Institute-accredited CE for 2017. He also retains records of the course description in the event of an audit.

Carry-over of CE Credits for CHS Designation-holders

Carry-over of up to 5 CE credits from one renewal cycle to the next, effective January 1, 2013, based on the following criteria:

  • Carry-over of up to 5 Institute-accredited CE credits from one renewal cycle to the next
  • Carry-over of up to 5 hours obtained from the successful completion of Institute designation courses (CLU for CHS designation-holders and CHS for CLU designation holders)
  • Carry-over of up to 5 hours obtained from Institute-approved courses leading to recognized designations (e.g. CFP, CA, CFA, CGA, CIM, CMA, CMP, FCSI, REBC, RFP, RPA, TEP, EPC and CEBS).

Note: Only Institute-accredited CE credits (or equivalent) can be carried over to the next renewal cycle as The Institute is confident in the value of Institute-accredited CE. Quantification of study hours must be provided in order to carry over CE credits from recognized courses. Courses must be a minimum of 30 hours of study, excluding evaluation time, in order to be eligible.

EXAMPLE ONE:
CLU designation-holder pursuing the CFP designation

  • CHS designation-holder successfully completes the Advanced Taxation course 235, which is quantified at 137 study hours.
  • Upon successful completion of the course, 10 hours of CE could be allocated to the 2016 CHS CE requirement and another 5 hours of CE could be carried forward to the 2017 year.

EXAMPLE TWO:
CHS designation-holder pursuing the CLU designation

  • CHS designation-holder successfully completes the Advanced Taxation course 235, which is quantified at 137 study hours.
  • Upon successful completion of the course, 10 hours of CE could be allocated to the 2015 CHS CE requirement and another 5 hours of CE could be carried forward to the 2016 year.

What if I can't complete the annual CE requirement?

The Institute recognizes that there may be times when a designation holder is unable to meet the continuing education requirements on an annual basis. More specifically, The Institute recognizes that medical situations may impact a designation holder's ability to balance their professional obligations, personal life, and practice. The Institute offers the opportunity for a designation holder to apply for a CE exemption for the reporting year based on either

  1. maternity leave, or
  2. medical necessity


Designation holders who wish to apply for an exemption are required to complete the CE Exemption form and attached written confirmation, to substantiate the request for an exemption based on one of the above listed grounds. The application can be found here. View CE Exemption form

How does the CE audit process work?

The Institute will begin auditing CE credits for the 2016 calendar year in 2017. By applying for the CLU and/or CHS designations in 2016, Institute designation holders thereby agreed to the terms of agreement, which included the requirement to maintain sufficient CE credits for 2016. They are therefore subject to a possible random CE audit in 2017.

How is accredited CE audited?

Any CE that has been accredited by The Institute's CE Accreditation Services is audit-proof. Accredited CE programs are automatically recorded on the member profile of any individual who has obtained Institute-accredited CE. Only non-accredited CE credits will be audited in the event that a member has not already provided verification of these credits. All Advocis delivered Institute accredited CE is automatically uploaded to the Advocis CE Credit Tracking database, which is accessible from your Advocis profile and is available to anyone who completes an Advocis CE program – whether an Advocis member or not. This database also allows manual inclusion of any other CE activity completed (accredited or otherwise). If you require assistance in gaining access to the Advocis CE Credit Tracking database please contact Advocis Member Services at 1-877-773-6765.

Do all Institute-accredited CE credits qualify for provincial licensing requirements (where required) and/or other designations like the CFP, for instance?

Accredited CE offers near universal assurance that CE will be accepted by all organizations, regulators and licensing bodies in the financial services industry. In our experience, the provincial authorities look favourably on Institute-accredited CE. The Institute, however, cannot speak on behalf of other organizations. It is the responsibility of participants to confirm that Institute-accredited and Institute-approved CE meet the CE requirements of other relevant organizations and provincial licensing bodies.

How do I find Institute-accredited CE programs?

Access the more than 5,500 CE credits currently on file here (by provider) and here (by Practice Competencies, Behaviours & Ethics). Learn more about the CE Accreditation Services here. If you cannot find the CE provider you are looking for, email us at accreditation@iafe.ca and we will follow up with the education provider.