Professional standards in financial advice have come a long way in recent years, but consumers do not necessarily know that. How can the industry earn their trust?
Earlier this month the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and the Chartered Banker Institute joined forces to promote professionalism and build trust in the financial services sector.
Working together as the Chartered Body Alliance while retaining their own identities, branding, individual charter and governance, the three organisations aim to communicate the benefits of engaging with qualified professionals through a range of initiatives such as events and explaining how their qualifications represent the “gold standard”.
CII chief executive and spokesperson for the alliance Sian Fisher says: “The public are not necessarily aware they have a choice when it comes to engaging with a financial services professional, and that not all practitioners in the market are qualified. The Chartered Body Alliance will help increase awareness of what a chartered and certified professional is, offering reassurance that members of the alliance have the knowledge and skills required to earn consumer trust.”
The alliance is seen by the bodies as a natural progression of recent campaigns such as the CISI’s Invest in Yourself and the CII’s Choose Chartered.
Fisher says part of the alliance’s work will be to publicly explain the professional evolution that has taken place in the sector over recent years. She says: “This will engage a larger number of consumers who may not otherwise have had the confidence to consider planning for their long-term financial futures.
“By encouraging high standards of competence, integrity and care for the client, chartered professional bodies equip their members with all the skills necessary to deliver a reliable service.”
The alliance has its own website, which will be used as a way of keeping everyone up to date with its news and activities. It currently has a “find a professional” facility, allowing consumers to scroll through the different types of qualified professionals, read a brief explanation about them and select what they need.
On whether this has the potential to confuse rather than enlighten consumers, the alliance points out the facility is at a very early stage of development.
Fisher says: “We are already making some changes to its functionality to make it more user friendly.”