Conduct complex financial planning research

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to undertake research of a complex nature for use in the financial planning process. Research would involve plans are those covering above average sums of money, with complex legal, regulatory or estate issues, covering an above average range of products or plans for major clients.This unit is applicable to individuals working within enterprises and job roles subject to licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements including legislation administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).


This unit has application to job roles such as senior financial planners, senior para-planners and senior technical staff.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Evaluate the client's current situation and identify the issues

1.1. An analysis of the integrity of information provided by the client is undertaken

1.2. The client objectives and expectations are identified and quantified by the authorised representative and tested for viability

1.3. The basis for strategy development is established

2. Identify research requirements and parameters

2.1. Aims and objectives of research including strategy and product and performance parameters are established against client requirements and expectations

2.2. Intended use of the research information is clearly established

2.3. A wide range of internal and external information resources are identified

2.4. Information requirements not met by regular sources are identified and strategies developed to access them legitimately

2.5. Timeframes are established and requests for information prioritised to ensure timelines are met

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

3.1. Data extraction criteria are established that are relevant to intended use and client requirements and do not unduly limit the scope of research

3.2. Trends are identified to provide meaningful information on performance of possible strategies, products and markets

3.3. Comprehensive risk assessment is made of products identified through the research

3.4. Strategies and financial products are analysed within appropriate timeframes to ensure currency of decision making

3.5. Obtained information is prioritised according to client requirements and expectations

3.6. Issues that require specialist research or advice are identified and appropriate advice sourced and obtained

4. Summarise and present results of research

4.1. Information on financial products is collated and checked against research specification

4.2. Written performance, trend and risk analyses are prepared and checked against research specification

4.3. Any qualifications or issues for further research are described and documented

4.4. Research findings are presented to the financial planner

Required Skills

Required skills

well-developed communication skills to:

determine and confirm client and work requirements, using questioning and active listening as required

liaise with others, share information, listen and understand

use language and concepts appropriate to cultural differences

highly developed research skills such for:

accessing and managing comprehensive and complex information

interpreting complex documentation

well-developed numeracy and IT skills such as:

using advanced analytical techniques

accessing and using software such as spreadsheets and databases

using internet information

self-management skills for complying with ethical, legal and procedural requirements

learning skills to maintain knowledge of changes to compliance legislation and requirements

organisational and time management skills to sequence tasks, meet timelines and arrange meetings

problem solving skills to identify any issues that have the potential to impact on the planning process or outcome and to develop options to resolve these issues when they arise

judgement skills to form recommendations in complex situations

strategy skills to form different strategies and options

Required knowledge

a wide range of financial products and services and their uses in portfolios

a wide range of relevant financial product information sources and research techniques

financial industry related Acts and regulations

industry trends and latest research findings

relevant legislative and code of practice requirements

relevant organisational policies, objectives and guidelines

risks and implications associated with financial products and services

specialist level knowledge of theories of investment, portfolio management and management of investment and risk

taxation and social security systems and regulations and their effect on the specified financial products

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the ability to:

test and assess the integrity of information and specify and justify research objectives and strategy

use knowledge of a wide range of available information sources to develop research strategies and obtain information not readily available

assess 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

assess risks and benefits associated with using a range of products and services within a portfolio

conduct and document research for financial plans, summarise and prioritise findings and evaluate outcomes against client requirements to form recommendations

comply with company policies and guidelines, industry codes of practice and relevant legislation.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure:

competency is demonstrated in the context of the financial services work environment and conditions specified in the range statement either in a relevant workplace or a closely simulated work environment

access to and the use of a range of common office equipment, technology, software and consumables.

Method of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples, in combination, are appropriate for this unit:

evaluating an integrated activity which combines the elements of competency for the unit or a cluster of related units of competency

verbal or written questioning on underpinning knowledge and skills which may include formal examinations

setting and reviewing workplace projects and business simulations/scenarios

evaluating samples of work

accessing and validating third party reports.

Guidance information for assessment

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Information may include factors such as:

economic situation

environmental considerations

industry codes of practice

internal comparisons

market situation

political situation

regulatory environment

social environment.

Client objectives and expectations may include:

comprehensive financial planning

integrated advice

product specific advice and/or service

portfolio advice for complex situations.

Timeframes may be affected by:

changes in client's circumstances


legislative and regulatory requirements

market cycles

marketing strategy

procedures revision

product release dates.

Appropriate advice may come from:



expert staff

external financial planners

investment analysts





Unit sector

Financial planning

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.