Despite the Covid crisis, the number of CFP professionals worldwide jumped 5.5% last year, while the increase in the U.S. was 3.8%, according to the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB).

There were 203,312 CFP professionals throughout the globe last year, up 10,550. The U.S. total was 92,055, up 3,329.

The gains represented a doubling of CFP professionals globally since FPSB's creation in 2004. They also represented a 10-fold increase in CFP professionals since CFP certification first went international in 1990, according to the FPSB.

FPSB China, which has the second-largest CFP professional community in the world after the CFP Board in the U.S., gained 3,221 to end the year with a total of 26,800 CFP professionals. 

Brazil was third with a net increase of 1,971 CFP professionals to end the year at 7,385; the Japan Association of Financial Planners followed with a gain of 969, ending the year with 24,064; and FPSB Indonesia was fifth with a net gain of 415 CFP professionals to end the year with 2,281. Canada, which is ranked fourth behind Japan for the most CFP professionals, was sixth in net gain, adding 397 for a year-end total of 16,797.

FPSB CEO Noel Maye said momentum in the global growth of CFP professionals remains strong throughout the pandemic and is increasing. “Last year, the number of CFP professionals reached the highest ever, with growth from emerging, developing and mature markets demonstrating the broad appeal of financial planning and CFP certification worldwide,” he said in a statement.

Brazil’s program, Planejar – Brazilian Association of Financial Planners, had the largest growth rate at 36.4% last year.

Other territories boasting double-digit growth rates in the number of CFP professionals last year were Indonesia (22.2%), India (17.6%), the People's Republic of China (13.7%), Chinese Taipei (12.9%) and Israel (11.7%).

The FPSB administers CFP certification and other programs in 27 territories. By regions, the Americas has the largest share of CFP professionals with 57.2%; followed by the Asia-Pacific with 36.7%; Europe with 3.6%; Africa with 2.3%; and the Middle East with 0.1%.