Ex-members of IFS can still use accreditation letters

The Institute of Financial Services, part of the ifs School of Finance, is the only accredited body that will allow advisers who are no longer members to continue using designatory letters gained from achieving qualifications when they leave.

Members of the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Institute of Financial Planning, the CFA Society of the UK, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and the Chartered Institute for Bankers in Scotland are not permitted to continue using designatory letters such as DipPFS if they decide to leave the professional bodies.

Advisers have raised concerns at the level of supplementary fees being charged by professional bodies in relation to qualifications.

One adviser who moved from the ifs School of Finance to the CII told Money Marketing he was charged £220 to register previous qualifications and his membership fee more than doubled from £5.83 a month to £14.24 a month on becoming diploma qualified.

Advisers have also been charged up to £100 to see copies of their exam papers.

Inspire IFA financial planner Stephen Maier says: “The way I look at it, if you have passed a qualification, why shouldn’t you be able to take those designatory letters with you?”

The CII and the IFP say the designations reflect ongoing continuing professional development. IFP members who use the CFP-certified financial planner designation also have to sign up to the professional body’s code of ethics.

CII head of membership marketing Martin Reid says: “We do make it clear in all the qualification material that use of the designations is conditional upon being a member.

“I know sometimes we get called a money-making machine but all the money gets reinvested back into member benefits to support the profession as a whole.”

IFP chief executive Nick Cann says: “The CFP certification is a recognition of more than just an examination pass.”