The review it does have the potential to revolutionise how consumers experience financial advice in a big way.
I expect by now that most of you are suffering from RDR overload – fed up with hearing the numerous views and analyses.
Of course, there are concerns, details to finalise and practicalities to resolve but I do not want us to lose sight of the fact that the proposals represent a major step to a more professional finan-cial advice market.
I believe that we have the potential to significantly change how consumers view the sector and move to a more professional standing, where the public genuinely value the advice they get.
Attaining the higher qualification will be a tough task for some but I believe it is necessary to build the financial advice profession we need and desire.
Progress is well under way ahead of the 2012 deadline. We have seen record numbers of candid-ates booking to sit the Chartered Insurance Institute’s diploma exams, already 114 per cent of the total for last year.
Further good news is that, of those currently sitting the diploma exams, 94 per cent are completing the qualification within two-and-a-half years, with 82 per cent completing within two years. These statistics show that it can be achieved within the 2012 deadline.
The prize for the industry is to become a real profession in the public mind and to unlock a whole new generation of talent keen to enter the profession.
Graduates who hitherto have largely neglected a potentially rewarding career as a financial adviser for more presti- gious areas such as investment banking or accoun-tancy are sitting up and taking notice. Is this a new profession on the march? You bet.
Our chartered financial planners now total 1,700 and being chartered is unquestionably the future for anyone seeking a career in financial advice and planning. The dramatic rise in chartered title-holders from a standing start four years ago is inspiring.
In our recent consumer research, 58 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that they would have greater trust and confidence in the advice from a char-tered professional compared with professionals who were not chartered.
There are significant challenges ahead, there is an oppor-tunity to meet the original objective of the FSA to raise levels of public trust and confidence.
We have the opportunity to build on the major progress already made and demonstrate to the public the valuable service we offer – and one that can be trusted.
Fay Goddard is chief executive of the Personal Finance Society