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BSI ready to fly a kitemark for financial advice

The British Standards Institution, which tests everything from crash

helmets to condoms, is discuss-ing kitemarking finan-cial advice.

The OFT suggested that the BSI should be handed responsibility for

financial service standards last year after it ran into problems over the

implementation of its own code of practice.

The move has sparked hostility from IFAs who feel it will only add to the

compliance burden.

The BSI has written to industry bodies asking them to join a committee

being set up to monitor international developments in personal financial

planning standards which could also lead to advice being kitemarked,

according to the LIA.

The new committee will monitor moves in the US to make the certified

financial planner the recognised international standard of financial

advice.

Sources say the BSI is unhappy with the standard of certified financial

planner and the fact that the standard varies from country to country.

Organisations invited to take part include the LIA, ABI, Aifa, Sofa, CII

and the Financial Ombudsman Service. The FSA is expected to chair the

committee.

A BSI standard will apply to the whole financial planning process,

including information given to and taken from the customer and how it is

used, according to BSI documents.

The LIA says a kitemark could be used to accredit unregulated people who

may give information guiding consumers through stakeholder decision trees,

as well as call-centre operatives.

LIA chairman John Ellis says: “This is another step to advisers being

recognised as a profession throughout the world.”

Wentworth Rose managing director Philip Rose says: “It all amounts to

another layer of bureaucracy and it tips the balance in favour of larger

companies.”

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