The test, devised by O&M Systems, was completed by 487 candidates, 97 of whom were chartered financial planners or had the advanced financial planning certificate. A further 284 were IFAs with the financial planning certificate and 106 were paraplanners.
Pass rates for those with the advanced and standard qualifications were identical at 87 per cent while paraplanners and other support staff had a 78 per cent pass rate.
Advanced participants fared worse than other advisers on one key question which asked what is the proper definition of the equity backing ratio.
The correct answer is the percentage of assets invested in equities and property but only 45 per cent of chartered entrants answered correctly compared with 48 per cent of standard IFAs and 38 per cent of paraplanners.
Director Graham Miller says: “I am not convinced that paying the Chartered Insurance Institute fees to spend a few more days to sit in a draughty hall will help our clients when it comes to practical advice.
“I agree that there needs to be some kind of minimum standard to give advice but these results show that people with advanced qualifications were no better than ordinary advisers when it came to with-profits knowledge.
“If a firm conducting with-profits reviews can demonstrate to the FSA that it has a sound process and its advisers have an excellent understanding of the subject in question, surely that is enough?”
Elementum chartered financial planner Steve Danson says: “I think that chartered status is a good aspiration to put financial advisers on a par with solicitors and other professionals.”
The CII was unavailable for comment.