At a heated PIMS 2009 debate, Cann also called for greater definition of the role of the financial planner.
He said: “How many people are looking at a career in financial planning and thinking, I know what that is? None.
“On the issue of universities and financial services degrees, they are rubbish. They do not correlate with what you want people to do in your businesses and there is no career structure.”
He said people with relevant degrees should not have to take other industry qualifications but this was opposed by Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard.
Cann said: “We need to talk to universities. They have no connect with our world at all and it is a dialogue about how do you make this happen. What does the job look like? What do you want people to do? How do you get consistency across different businesses that you can go out and market? If we get anywhere near that, it will be a huge step forward.”
Aifa director general Chris Cummings said: “If you are going to market the profession, what language would you use to attract people?
“We run the risk of repeating the FSA’s failures, of saying, of course people should be interested in financial services and we will educate them until they bloody well are.”
Mazars chief executive officer Paul Willans said: “One of the major problems with advisers over the last 20 years is that people may have innate professionalism but there is no understanding as to what professionalism means, what is conflict of interest and how you represent our clients.
“If we train people in ethics and a correct culture in a universal consistent manner, that is how we create a profession.”