I always say to people that ask me what the various financial adviser qualifications mean, that a Chartered Financial Planner is someone that has passed lots of exams, and a Certified Financial Planner is someone that knows how to plan your financial strategy.
Passing lots of exams and having lots of technical knowledge gives an adviser an excellent base from which to work. However applying that knowledge is something very different. A Certified Financial Planner licence, awarded by the Institute of Financial Planning annually is a mark of someone that wants to do things the right way. Someone that cares about financial planning and not just financial advice or selling products.
The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) status is actually an international qualification recognised around the world in major financial markets such as the USA, Canada and Australia.
Though this may be an over generalisation, Certified Financial Planners tend to appraoch the advice process quite differently to most. Rather than having a chat to identify gaps that could be filled with financial products, a planner will take time to understand your personal and financial position and make plans to help you match your personal goals with your financial means. If there is a need for financial products then these may be considered but it is certainly not the goal from the outset.
So financial planning as opposed to financial advice tends to be a very different approach to what is seemingly the same scenario, but with potentially very different outcomes.