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Editor’s note: Is an all-chartered world where we want to be?

For keen readers of these pages, you may have noticed a number of prominent financial planners taking on the subject of chartered status in recent weeks.

This isn’t a deliberate move on our part. We’ve not specifically asked the likes of Alistair Cunningham and Scott Gallacher to question the integrity of the title as it stands.

They have chosen to do so with the space offered to them. But I do think this reflects an undercurrent I hear in the market that now is the time to start asking some questions about what it means to be chartered today.

There is obviously still the problem of policing the title, with Unbiased and VouchedFor listings containing a significant number of non-chartered individuals and firms claiming to be so.

Cover story: What does the future hold for chartered status?

I would feel aggrieved if I had put as much effort in as those that honestly hold the award, only to see others who have not gone through the same process claiming to be at the same level.

This comes back to a core point that chartered needs to say something over and above a standard financial planner.

According to data from recruitment consultants BWD, around 40 per cent of financial advisers that take part in its census each year have chartered status.

However, when combined with those saying that they expect to attain it in the coming two years, the balance could soon tip to a situation where the majority of planners will be chartered.

Will chartered still hold a special significance if that is the case? One could argue that the closer the number gets to 100 per cent, the less the title means. Or you could argue that an all-chartered advice sector would be a significantly more professional one; though the increase in charges that evidence shows comes with the title might not be such a great thing for access to advice.

I think that as public knowledge of financial advice continues improving, the chartered designation will become a greater influencing factor on client decisions.

However, the tightening of criteria to claim chartered firm status as opposed to chartered individual is probably not all that important.

For all that some firms claim their clients love dealing with the wider business, rather than just one individual, it is clear the core relationship remains with the lead advisers.

Should a business have to explain that, under the new rules, they are technically not a chartered firm anymore, but that the client’s adviser is still chartered, I doubt many would bat an eyelid.

But tell them that their adviser has not, in fact, ticked all the boxes they should have to claim chartered qualifications and it might be a different story.

Justin Cash is editor of Money Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Justin_Cash_1

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  1. Andrew Cartlidge 6th June 2019 at 4:27 pm

    I am not chartered myself – but a fully chartered profession is desirable over time. The chartered qualification ensures a broad degree of technical competence in those new to their profession, which could only otherwise be obtained through years of highly varied practical experience. Once in practice, these chartered professionals will forget much of what they learned in order to pass their exams, although important remnants will remain indelibly printed upon them. Equally, their knowledge will expand through practical experience of those areas in which they choose to practice. There is much to be said for Chartered status for new entrants – but for those in practice already in their established niches – there is little practical value other than ‘status’. The experienced will still be of far more use to their clients than any newly minted ‘Chartered Financial Planner’. The latter status has to be earned through study/examination and should therefore be jealously guarded, but the ‘newly minted’ need always to appreciate the immense value of long-term experience, which too often they do not.

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