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Cann calls for strict planner standards

The Institute of Financial Planning wants the FSA to ban firms from calling themselves financial planners unless a quarter of their board have reached QCF level six, equivalent to a degree IFP chief executive Nick Cann says only firms that have at least a quarter of board members or partners qualified to QCF level six and over half of their advisers certified or chartered should be allowed to use the title.

He says advisers must also be tested on their skills, be members of a professional body and offer fee-based advice. He is calling for the creation of a register of financial planning firms to be run by either the IFP, the FSA or its new professional standards board. Cann says the register would enable people to find firms that offer full financial planning services and give these businesses a platform to market their service.

He adds: “The FSA would be able to deliver a regulatory dividend to these firms which would also see great reductions in other aspects of their business like professional indemnity insurance.”

Cann says not all businesses currently using the financial planning title are giving high quality financial planning advice from highly qualified advisers.

He says: “The banks, in particular, are using this title when they are doing, in the main, product transactions with little or no financial planning.”

But Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard says it would be “acutely difficult” to protect the financial planning title. She says: “I do not see how the FSA could stipulate this level of detailed criteria to be able to use that terminology. I do not think it is legally possible but it is important that the title financial planner is not used in the sales arena.”

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