The scheme, introduced in 2007, awards a charter granted by the Privy Council to firms that meet the criteria for standards, capability and conduct. Under the new stricter criteria, firms will have to demonstrate that they maintain formal and relevant professional development and seek higher qualifications for staff throughout the business but especially advisers.
Firms will have to show that their core values and practices are in line with the CII’s code of ethics.
There will also be increased monitoring and disciplinary procedures, including audit visits, to ensure compliance with the scheme rules, a requirement that the entire board/management team are members of the Personal Finance Society or CII and one board member with chartered financial planner status will be responsible for ensuring the business complies with these criteria.
CII director of financial services Steve Jenkins says: “Chartered status has real value in the eyes of the public precisely because it is tough to obtain. We are raising the bar bec- ause we want to strengthen the perception that the charter marque is an indication of merit and integrity.”
Tower Hill Associates director John Lang says: “What the CII is proposing to do is a step in the right direction.”
However, Lang says they should lay down a specific requirement for the number of chartered financial planners needed for a firm to get corporate chartered financial planner status.
Lang says: “All that they are doing is positive and they are trying to raise the bar but it does not address this strange issue where you could have very few chartered financial planners and have corporate status.”
Based on the current criteria, only one of the firm’s board members must personally hold the CII chartered financial planner title.