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Experience counts as much as exams

As one of the people referred to by Filip Slipaczek in his letter last week, I find his comments are typical of the pomposity and portentousness shown by some ex-Sofa members about lesser-qualified advisers.

Furthermore, his closing remarks are most offensive and show how blinkered such people can be about other equally important traits and experiences that can be brought to bear for the benefit of clients.

These attributes and qualities cannot be contained in any examination so Mr Slipaczek may be unable to comprehend such possibilities. I will therefore illustrate my point clearly for his benefit.

As a mere MLIA (Dip), I still have an appropriate grounding in what I can and cannot comfortably advise a client upon. I can refer a client to a number of highly qualified specialists in various areas of financial planning and do so when necessary. Therefore, any potential or existing clients of mine do not suffer from any lack of expertise on my part. This is one of the reasons why I strongly object to the elitist exclusion on the Personal Financial Society website.

I happen to be a member of Mensa, which may or may not be a benefit to the client but, far more importantly, also have inherited a very high sense of honesty and integrity, which I value above anything else, as do my clients.

Furthermore, I have been in the most unfortunate position of my first wife dying at 40, with three very young children to bring up. Even though I was not in the profession at the time, I was insured. As a result, I know how you cannot realistically rely on the state and how you must make your own arrangements against misfortune. All this and much more is brought to bear in my dealing with my clients and for their benefit.

Mr Slipaczek, you cannot learn these experiences that I have mentioned by examination, only learn from them.

Finally, Mr Slipaczek suggests that examinations are the only requirement to being able to satisfy a client’s needs but I have seen highly qualified people who have absolutely no idea of how to interact or communicate with people and potential clients being lost as a result. In Mr Slipaczek’s ideal world, all IFAs would be qualified to AFPC or a higher level. No doubt, these highly qualified advisers would have to charge significantly higher fees than could reasonably be afforded by the general public due to their elite status.

Such a situation would exclude a considerable proportion of the public from being able to afford independent advice. I hope that, on reflection, Mr Slipaczek will reconsider how inappropriate his remarks were and consider an apology.

David Barnett DPB Independent Financial Services, Edgware, Middlesex

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