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Aifa highlights gap between chartered and certified status

Aifa has criticised the retail distribution review for failing to recognise the gap in standards between certified financial planner and chartered financial planner status.

The trade body’s second issue paper calls for closer examination of the credit systems for both qualifications.

Aifa says to be a certified financial planner, candidates must belong to the Institute of Financial Planning, obtain a qualification at the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Diploma in Financial Planning level and undertake a case study assessment by the IFP.

The diploma of financial planning and the case study make up a total minimum of 152 credits.

Those wanting to obtain chartered financial planner status do not need membership of a professional body but must have the advanced diploma in financial planning, which requires 290 credits.

The paper states: “Both are credible and worthy designations but there would need to be clarity over the minimum qualifications required for PFPs and whether membership of a professional body would be mandatory.”

Cavendish Financial Management managing director Julie Lord says the two qualifications are equal as far as technical knowledge is concerned but the chartered financial planner qualification does not test advisers’ competence to produce a lifetime cashflow forecast or a proper financial plan for clients.

She says: “If advisers are going to call themselves professional planners, they need to be able to plan and unfortunately a lot of chartered financial planners do not know how to plan. The only qualification that tests their ability to plan is the certified financial planner qualification.”

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