Distance learning programme is the perfect option for those who do not have much spare time If you want to be recognised worldwide by the financial planning industry, the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification is the best way forward. Taking a face-to-face course is not always ideal, however, especially when you have little spare time. Another option is the registered CFP Certification distance learning education programme, run by the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong (IFPHK). As with the traditional model, the programme enhances financial planning knowledge via six modules. These include foundation of financial planning, investment, insurance, retirement planning, employee benefits, and tax and estate planning. Through the programme, students not only learn different financial planning concepts but also learn how to apply these different areas in a comprehensive way, said Angeline Chin, the IFPHK's chief executive. As a result, students will understand more about the holistic financial planning process. They will also be able to provide more professional advice and services to their clients, she said. A benefit of learning in this way is the flexibility it offers, as it is easy to complete the education programme at one's own pace. Twenty-four hour access is also helpful, since students can fit the study schedule into their own timetables, wherever they are in the world. Convenience is another important factor. 'You can improve your studies with readily available study tools and support,' Ms Chin said. The programme also offers uncompromised quality and has been designed to provide a quality learning experience. This is backed up by classroom sessions to enhance the learning experience, and face-to-face tutorials that help students keep track of their progress, she said. The ideal candidates for this programme are busy individuals, especially senior managers from within the industry. People who are familiar with the study topics or do not have time to attend classes will also benefit, Ms Chin said. 'Time is no longer a hurdle for busy practitioners [who want] to study the CFP certification education programme.' The education providers assist the students' learning throughout the programme via an online support platform, together with other learning facilities and services, such as e-mail and hotlines. To provide opportunities for the students to discuss topics and learn from their instructors, face-to-face tutorials are also included in the programme. Students also have the opportunity to correspond with their classmates and discuss topics during the tutorials. Twelve hours of tutorials are required for modules one to five, while module six requires 18 hours. Self-study hours are a key benefit of this programme, Ms Chin said. For these, students are provided with a course package from the course provider that includes textbooks, workbooks and other study materials. These materials clearly state the key learning outcomes, study schedules and suggested study hours for each topic. They also include study notes and a set of self-test questions. Students are required to submit their assignments or must pass a range of internal quizzes based on requirements in their workbooks. To complete the programme, they also need to pass the examination for each module. Anyone who is interested in the programme should note that all of its instructors are experienced, Ms Chin said. They also meet the specific qualification requirements, as stated in the IFPHK's guidelines.