Frequently asked questions
1. What is financial planning?
The main purpose of financial planning for individuals is to meet people life goals through various means and platform, including investment products, tax planning schemes, retirement plans, traditional banking products, trust arrangement and insurance products.
2. What is a Registered Financial Planner?
Registered Financial Planner (“RFP”) is a professional designation acquired by financial planning practitioners that have satisfied the qualifying examination and experience requirements of the Society of Registered Financial Planners (“HKRFP”). Members of HKRFP are related to the provision of financial planning services to clients. Our members understand that a well-designed financial plan could better serve clients’ financial needs and choices, given his/her risk profile. Professional financial planning advices are particularly valuable and important under times of economic uncertainties, changing social or legal structures, surging new financial products and increasing tax rates.
3. What does a financial planner do and how do I differentiate the services provided by a financial planner from that of other service provider?
A professional financial planner reviews and analyses the current financial position of a client with the objective of preparing a personalized financial plan to achieve certain pre-determined financial objectives in the long term. The financial planner also helps the client to implement the strategy and to review and revise the financial plan from time to time to account for changes in life, life cycle and economic conditions. Other service providers, on the other hand, do not provide comprehensive personalized services. They may provide financial advice on specific areas such as asset protection, estate planning, investment and retirement plans. Financial planning, however, encompasses all of these areas.
4. How do I know if I need the service of a financial planner?
In the real world, different people require different products and services. The best way to determine whether you need the services of a financial planner is to ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- Do I know if I have a financial objective to achieve in the short, medium or long term?
- Do I want to revisit my investment strategy?
- Do I have assets under my control which I want protection?
- Do I feel I am not planning my tax wisely?
- Do I have excess money which I want to invest rather than putting in banks?
- Do I feel comfortable about maintaining my life style after my retirement?
If any of answers to the above questions is “yes”, it is advisable to talk to a financial planner.
5. I do not know any financial planner in town, but I think I need the services of a financial planner, what can I do?
You can visit the HKRFP website or contact HKRFP in person or write to them. The Society can recommend a practicing professional financial planner to assist you. HKRFPs are competent professionals who will put your interest first. Our members must abide by the Code of Ethics and they are committed to maintain very high professional standard through continuing education.
6. What is the financial planning process? What can I expect of the level of services a financial planner can provide?
In most cases, a financial planner will approach your needs in the following manners: – Identify your current financial position. – Determine your financial goals and objective. – Analyze other financial parameter, the economic environment, tax system, trust laws, availability of investment products etc. – The draft financial plan and recommendations. – Discussion with client on implementation details. – Post implementation review and update. Your financial planner should be knowledgeable about every aspect of financial planning, including investments, taxation, insurance, risk protection, retirement and estate planning. They should always put your interest first.
7. My financial planner advises me to but certain investment products in the U.S. How do I know if he is giving me for the best advice?
Ideally a planner should be experienced in areas such as investments, insurance, risk protection, taxation, estate planning, and money management. However, you have to understand that most financial planners are general planners.Usually, the planner should have a close working relationship with accountants, lawyers, banks, fund managers, investment advisors and other competent professionals. Therefore, you can always seek the expert opinion from these service providers through the financial planner.
8. What does HKRFP do and what role does it play in the financial planning industry?
Its mission is to foster the professional standards of financial planning and to raise public awareness of the value of financial planning services. It aims to promote financial planners to act with integrity, objectivity and a commitment to excellence; and in the public interest. The Society is a non-profit taking and self-regulating organization. It is established to regulate its members to act in the public interest by and through upholding continuous education, examination sharing, experience, code of ethics and professional responsibilities for using the designation of HKRFP.
9. If I want to join HKRFP and pursue a career in financial planning, what should I do to equip myself?
To become a member of HKRFP, one must pass the qualifying requirements including examinations of the Society, which is conducted twice a year in Hong Kong, i.e. June and December; and quarterly in China, i.e. March, June, September and December. Students have to sit for five papers, including financial planning, insurance planning, investment planning, tax planning and best practice for financial planners. Students may register for distance learning course with The Society or appropriate courses offered by the approved institutions, universities and organizations.
10. I am very interested in joining The Society, and I am professional from another field. Do I have to write the entire five papers examination?
No, you may seek exemptions for certain papers if you are a full member of an eligible professional body. You should refer to the exemption policy of The Society in this website for details of exemptions. The Council of The Society reserves the right to exercise its discretion in applying the exemption policy to your application.