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CSI plans to recognize a financial planning graduate certificate offered through Seneca as an education stepping stone to its personal financial planner (PFP) designation.

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The Canadian Securities Institute, a leading for-profit provider of financial services education and credentials, offers its own courses and designations for students aspiring to careers in banking, insurance and securities.

Public colleges also include Institute curriculum in their financial services curriculum.

That makes them competitors – on paper – but collaboration is the key to a new agreement between the Institute and Toronto-based Seneca College.

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The scope for collaboration is wide because of a key difference in their target markets: The Institute offers online courses to those already working while Seneca and other public colleges deliver in-class courses, often with Institute content, for students seeking a diploma or degree.

Effective next month, the Institute plans to recognize a financial planning graduate certificate already offered through Seneca's school of accounting and financial services as an education pathway to the Institute's personal financial planner (PFP) designation.

The agreement acknowledges that Seneca's content for its financial planning program matches the education requirements set out by CSI for its financial planner designation.

Instead of taking extra CSI courses after graduation, Seneca graduates can now complete the same content while in school. However, they still must pass the CSI exam and meet a three-year work experience requirement to earn the designation.

"With this program and all my programs, the common theme is always partnership with the professional body to ensure the students are out the door job-ready," says Karen Murkar, chair of Seneca's school of accounting and financial services.

CSI has numerous education agreements with colleges and universities, but Seneca's graduate-level program in financial planning is the first of its kind to be recognized by CSI.

Marc Flynn, senior director of regulatory relations and credentialing for CSI, says the collaboration signals the Institute's interest in expanding the pool of students seeking the Institute's professional designations.

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"Those community colleges and universities that partner with us bring a level of support to a set of candidates we may not be able to reach and provide a different type of learning and a different structure," he says. "In this way it is good for everybody."

Follow Jennifer Lewington via her RSS feed here or Twitter @JenLewington. She can be contacted by e-mail at jlewington@bell.net.

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