The corporate Chartered Financial Planners status is considered by investors to be the ‘gold standard’, held only by firms which demonstrate their professional commitment to raising standards of knowledge, capability and ethical practice.
Informed Choice became the 99th firm of Chartered Financial Planners in December 2007. Today, there are more than 400 firms of Chartered Financial Planners across the UK.
In fact, our founder Nick Bamford was instrumental in making the application for Chartered Financial Planner status in his role as Chairman of the Society of Financial Advisers (SOFA), making this Chartered status very close to our hearts.
It was good to read last week that the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which awards these Chartered titles under a Royal Charter, has plans to toughen its rules for firms which qualify to become Chartered Financial Planners.
Under current rules, the CII only requires that firms of Chartered Financial Planners have at least one Chartered Financial Planner (an individual holding the individual Chartered title) on its board of directors.
At least 90% of its customer-facing staff must also be members of the Chartered Insurance Institute.
This creates the situation where larger firms can have one Chartered Financial Planner (and lots of Diploma-qualified advisers) but refer to themselves as ‘Chartered Financial Planners’.
The new tougher requirements mean that, from January 2020, at least 50% of advisers in a firm of Chartered Financial Planners must hold the Chartered Financial Planner title in their own right.
This change is being introduced gradually, with a 25% requirement from July 2017, giving firms a chance to raise their standards and keep up with the new requirements.
Thinking about our own team here at Informed Choice, five of our six advisers already hold the Chartered Financial Planner status, so we comfortably qualify to meet the new tougher standards already.
How Chartered are your Chartered Financial Planners? Is it a badge of honour based on satisfying the criteria by a narrow margin, or is the firm truly populated by individuals who embrace higher professional standards?