Course Title: Conduct complex financial planning research

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2017

Course Code: BAFI5220C

Course Title: Conduct complex financial planning research

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5343 - Diploma of Financial Planning

Course Contact: Callie Harvey

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5772

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Sanjay D'Souza



Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to undertake research of a complex nature for use in the financial planning process. Research would involve plans for those with above average sums of money, with complex legal, regulatory or estate issues, or an above average range of products or plans for major clients.

It applies to experienced individuals who use specialised knowledge and techniques to source, evaluate and synthesise complex information to solve problems and support the planning process.

Work functions in the occupational areas where this unit may be used are subject to regulatory requirements. Refer to the FNS Implementation Guide Companion Volume or the relevant regulator for specific guidance on requirements.                  

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

FNSFPL508 Conduct complex financial planning research


1. Evaluate client’s current situation and identify issues

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Undertake analysis of integrity of information provided by client 1.2 Ensure client objectives and expectations are identified, quantified and tested for viability by authorised representative 1.3 Establish basis for strategy development


2. Identify research requirements and parameters

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Establish aims and objectives of research, including strategy and product and performance parameters against client requirements and expectations 2.2 Clearly establish intended use of research information 2.3 Identify wide range of internal and external information resources 2.4 Identify information requirements not met by regular sources and develop strategies to access them legitimately 2.5 Establish timeframes and prioritise requests for information to ensure timelines are met


3. Extract and analyse information according to research requirements and parameters

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Establish data extraction criteria that are relevant to intended use and client requirements, and do not unduly limit scope of research 3.2 Identify trends to provide meaningful information on performance of possible strategies, products and markets 3.3 Undertake comprehensive risk assessment of products identified through research 3.4 Analyse strategies and financial products within appropriate timeframes to ensure currency of decision making 3.5 Prioritise information obtained according to client requirements and expectations 3.6 Identify issues that require specialist research or advice, and source and obtain appropriate advice


4. Summarise and present results of research

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Collate information on financial products and check against research specification 4.2 Prepare written performance, trend and risk analyses and check against research specification 4.3 Describe and document any qualifications or issues for further research 4.4 Present research findings to financial planner

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

A range of learning activities are planned for this course including self-paced and collaborative classroom based activities.

The self-paced activities will be delivered thought various technology platforms and include your contribution to activities, discussion threads, reflective journals on industry updates, presentations, quizzes and interactive sessions.

The collaborative classroom based activities will include role plays, group discussion, group problem solving activities and opportunities to practice your skills in a simulated/real workplace environment.

You are expected to participate and contribute in all scheduled learning activities



Teaching Schedule

Prior to training commencement a program level induction session will be conducted that comprises the following:

  • Program overview and requirements
  • MyRMIT/Blackboard
  • Overview of assessment requirements
  • Pre-Training Review including:
    • Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfers
    • Assessment of current skills and knowledge
  • Competency/Grading Criteria
  • Plagiarism
  • Appeals
  • Extensions
  • Feedback
  • Privacy
  • Submission requirements
  • Resubmission policy
  • Where to get support
  • Student responsibilities 

The Teaching Schedule for this course is attached to this document (Part B) but please note that it is subject to change.

The nominal hours associated with this are a guide only and represent the total teaching time and student effort required to successfully complete the course. This may include not only scheduled classes but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities including the self - paced activities in the workbooks.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Online learning materials can be accessed by going into the RMIT web sites Online Learning Hub.

The online learning materials listed include:

  • Course outlines
  • Client Files
  • Power point Presentations
  • Course Workbooks
  • Supporting Reading material
  • Industry relevant articles
  • Activities


Overview of Assessment

In order to achieve competency in this unit, you must provide:

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to:

  • conduct and document research of a complex nature for use in the financial planning process that includes:
    • testing and assessing the integrity of information
    • specifying and justifying research objectives and strategy
  • summarise and prioritise findings based on:
    • assessing the impact of trends on product performance to interpret and assess available products and services and how they can be combined in a comprehensive portfolio
    • assessing risks and benefits associated with using a range of products and services within a portfolio
  • evaluate outcomes against client requirements to form recommendations that comply with company policy and procedures, industry codes of practice and relevant legislation.

Knowledge Evidence

To complete the unit requirements safely and effectively, you must:

  • identify and outline the key features of a wide range of:
    • financial products and services and their uses in portfolios
    • relevant financial product information sources and research techniques
    • identify and classify a wide range of available information sources and describe research strategies to obtain information not readily available
  • describe the key features of:
    • financial industry related Acts and regulations
    • industry trends and latest research findings
    • relevant legislative and code of practice requirements
    • relevant organisational policy, objectives and guidelines
  • identify and discuss the major risks and implications associated with financial products and services
  • explain theories of investment, portfolio management and management of investment and risk
  • describe issues relating to taxation and social security systems and regulations, and their effect on the specified financial products.

Assessment Conditions

Assessment must be conducted in a safe environment where evidence gathered demonstrates consistent performance of typical activities experienced in the financial planning field of work and include access to:

  • office equipment, technology, software and consumables. 

You are advised that you are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate your assessment work to your teacher to ensure that the relevant competency standards are being met.


Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions. You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during class time and online sessions so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed. Finally, you can email or arrange an appointment with your teacher to gain more feedback on your progress.

You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning outcomes and final performance in the course.

Assessment Tasks

Overview of Assessment

This course is  a single competency and is delivered on its own.

Critical Aspects of assessment are described above in the performance evidence for this course.

The assessments for this course have been designed to allow participants  apply their learning to particular simulated work scenarios and demonstrate their competence in a variety of ways.


Task 1 - ​ Mini Problem Solving Exercises/Activities (Weeks 3 -15)

For this Assessment Task you are required to demonstrate your knowledge by completing a series of ten theory and problem solving activities over the course of the semester from weeks 2 to 14. You will be required to submit each activity as specified in the weekly schedule.

The purpose of the activities is to enhance your understanding and ability to apply the knowledge to practice in the following areas:

a) savings in superannuation funds

b) gifting of money to others and the impact on Centrelink entitlements and superannuation balances

c) insurance strategy and product availability in the market

d) investment styles including:

  • Active Management Vs Passive Management
  • Multi Manager Vs Single Manager

e) Winnings from competitions and investment

f) Compliance documents that must be provided to clients

g) Invest into overseas shares and associated risks

h) Contents in Statement of Advice.

i) Opt-In requirements in a Fee Disclosure Document.

j) Fund options from super providers and the relevant investment strategy/ asset allocation and past performance.


Task 2 - Workplace Simulated Projects (Week 12)

For this Project you will assume that you are working as a para-planner Swanston Banking Group Ltd. You will be required to complete a capstone assignment designed to address your overall knowledge, skills and competencies. There are two main components

  1. a) Discussion of client issues, potential strategies and evaluation of progress
  2. b) Preparation of a comprehensive strategy paper

The purpose of the assessment is to enable you to demonstrate a breadth of understanding across all of the course material at an independent level. It assesses the knowledge you have obtained through undertaking the topic, your communication skills in presenting that knowledge and your problem-solving skills in answering the questions posed.

Specifically, the aims of this assessment are to:

a) Review core technical skills and understandings as well as compliance matters in the context of fostering an appropriate client relationship and constructing a strategy paper;

b) Action the FPA's first 3-stages of the financial planning process in the construction of a strategy paper

c) Further develop other aspects of individual and organisational best practice, including documentation and record keeping.

d) Extend your existing skills and knowledge so you can demonstrate your capacity to perform as a competent financial planner.

Part 1

For Part 1 you will need to provide a written submission informing the client of the financial planning process and services, as detailed in the documentation provided to the participant.

This requires that the participant to prepare for an initial meeting (which is also the ‘fact finding’ interview) with the client that addresses the following:

  • Financial planning process and role, and any limits of authority of the representative are explained to the client,
  • The licensees and principals of the organisation and services and capacity of the organisation, including any relationship to other financial services are explained to the client,
  • Fees and charges are explained to the client and the client's understanding of these is confirmed before proceeding with delivery of service,
  • Clients with special needs are identified and appropriate action taken or referral made, and
  • Procedures for internal and external complaints handling and resolution are explained to the client.

Part 2

In this part, you are required to requires you to obtain relevant information on the client's existing financial situation by completing the Fact Finder, based on the information contained in the outline provided to them, including:

  • Facts and information relevant to the client's particular service request are obtained and confirmed,
  • Client's expectations, requirements and objectives are identified, with the clients encouraged to disclose relevant information to determine their personal/financial situation and any special needs,
  • Relevant information on investments and assets held by the client and their current income, expenditure and liabilities situation are obtained,
  • A summary analysis of client's financial position is developed based on extent of client disclosure and requirements, and
  • Risk and fraud indicators are identified accurately and all information is checked for consistency and potential conflict.

Part 3

Part 3 asks you to participate in ‘fact finding consultations’ during the initial engagement advice process stage to enable the participant to gain a deeper level of understanding about the client’s preferences toward different strategy options or the client’s level of comfort and understanding of each strategy option. The participants will be required to determine the client expectations and requirements with respect to the financial planning service offered. Establish investment needs, preferences and priorities for the clients. Then develop strategy paper to meet client’s needs and objectives.

A number of Learning Audit Dates have been scheduled and you are expected to progress as per the set targets throughout their studies. 


You must successfully complete all assessment tasks to achieve competency.

Grading will be applied once you have been deemed competent for each competency.


Assessment Matrix

Other Information

 Submission Requirements

You should:

• Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date. 
• Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks. (hard copy and soft copy)
• When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of each assessment task is available on blackboard.
• Each page of your assessment should include footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment, unit code and title and page numbers. For example, Callie Harvey, 324567, Task 2, OHS2345C Ensure safe workplace, Page 1 of 10.

Late Submission Procedures

You are required to submit assessment items and/or ensure performance based assessment is completed by the due dates.

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment item on time, by circumstances outside your control, you may apply in advance to your teacher for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days. <check links are still current>

More Information:

Form to use:

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination. <check links are still current>

More Information:;ID=g43abm17hc9w

Form to use:

Resubmissions (VET Programs):

If you are found to be unsuccessful in a Course Assessment Task you will be allowed one resubmission only. Your teacher will provide feedback regarding what you need to do to improve and will set a new deadline for the resubmission. The highest grade you will receive if your resubmission is successful is “CAG”.

If you are still not meeting the assessment requirements you must apply to your Program Manager in writing outlining the steps you will take to demonstrate competence in your course. Your submission will be considered by the Program Team and you will be advised of the outcome as soon as possible.

Adjustments to Assessment

In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment. For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website: <check link is still current>
More Information:;ID=7usdbki1fjf31

Marking Guide (Competency):

You must demonstrate that you have all the required skills/knowledge/elements in the unit of competency you are studying.

You will receive feedback on each assessment task that will inform you about your progress and how well you are performing.

Marking Guide (Grading)

After achieving competency we then grade your performance in the unit and you will achieve one of the following grades:

Final Grades table:

CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
CAG Competency Achieved – Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for assessment

Further information regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.


Course Overview: Access Course Overview