Name: Mark Rantall Position: Chief executive, Financial Planning Association The course options: The Advanced Diploma in Financial Services is required to enter the Certified Financial Planner program. Skill tips: Financial planners require three years’ supervised experience to complete the certification program. They also need very good people, interaction and listening skills because a lot of the work involved requires them to really understand the client’s circumstances and situation. Members have to sign up to 40 hours of ongoing professional development a year, or 120 hours over three years, and that consists of 50 per cent structured and 50 per cent unstructured study. The structured study has to be approved and accredited. Unstructured might be technical sessions or reading materials.