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Fay Goddard: Advisers should be going for gold

A lot has already been written about the success of the London 2012 Olympic games and I cannot believe many people, even those who are not big sports fans, will not have been swept up in the euphoria and felt proud to be British.

I was fortunate enough to have spent a day at the Olympic park and saw our ladies hockey team win the bronze medal. A waving sea of red, white and blue and the sheer exuberance of the crowd as the final horn sounded was an experience I will never forget. There was, however, something equally impressive and that was the amazing sense of unity and belonging. It sounds a bit clichéd but the carnival atmosphere around the whole of the Olympic park really made you feel part of one big happy family.

It will take a lot to surpass the amazing tally of team GB’s gold medals, many of which were attributed to the fantastic support of the home crowd, friends and family.

It did make me reflect on how important this is when faced with tough challenges and that over the past four years, since the last Olympics, how far our profession has come.

I am not simply referring to the challenges of the RDR but those presented by the continued economic downturn and eurozone uncertainty. Four years ago, it was predicted that up to 40 per cent of advisers would exit the market, businesses would go bust and financial planning would only be available to the privileged few.

None of this has materialised, in fact, quite the reverse. With tremendous effort and support from the sector, professional bodies – and, yes, friends and families – most advisers have achieved the required standard of qualification. Many have gone further and I will come back to this in a moment.

Business appears to be thriving as firms develop their client proposition and new ways of serving lower value clients are being created. The advisory sector has always been innovative and resilient and this trait has not diminished.

Casting my mind back to the last Olympics reminded me that I wrote about Going for Gold in this very column four years ago. The article referred to attaining chartered status and I would like to quote a part to demonstrate how far we have come. “The PFS now has nearly 1,500 chartered financial planners, each of whom has shown dedication, commitment and made sacrifices. While this may not quite be on an Olympiad’s scale, it still requires a lot of effort. When asked why they went for chartered status, many chartered financial planners have said “because it was there for the taking and I knew I could do it”, which demonstrates the competitive and challenging nature of the advisory sector.

Today, we have 3,141 chartered financial planners and 6,500 actively en route and the message is still the same, if you want financial planning to be recognised as a true profession, go for gold. 

Fay Goddard is chief executive of the Personal Finance Society


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There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Sorry Fay as far as I am concerned you can boil your head. As I see it you and the people in your line of work have earned a s+~t load out of RDR and the stupid bloody exams, you have done nothing but promote this whole bloody experiment.
    I am on my arse here !! wasted money and time on top the worst market conditions for years, levies etc etc etc

    Go for gold you say !! Open you eyes I say !!!

    Who has this really benefited Clients ? IFA’s ? YOU ?

  2. And please don’t forget that the CII is not the only one in this field. Remember that the original and still the most internationally recognised CFP qualification (and still the only one entitled to use the letters instead of the full title) is awarded by the IFP. You may also find that you are treated with more sympathy and respect and less of a cash cow.

  3. “It sounds a bit clichéd but the carnival atmosphere around the whole of the Olympic park really made you feel part of one big happy family”
    If, by this statement, you are inferring that advisers are part of one big happy family, then you really do live in cloud cuckoo land Fay.
    Most advisers I know are not happy. They are sick and tired of being regulated by lunatics. They are sick and tired of sound bites from sycophants who make plenty of money every time the regulator issues a new decree..
    Most of all they are sick of being treated with the utmost contempt by a regulator who treats them as a cash cow with no rights and no representative body capable or willing to come to their defence.
    Well done to team GB they did themselves proud. I was pleased they achieved their goals.Their achievements however, did nothing towards me feeling proud to be British.
    I am ashamed to be British, due in no small measure, to the fact that my daily life is governed by an unnelected unaccountable, out of control regulator.
    Britain has the cheek to pontificate about democracy & human rights to other nations whilst at the same time denying a sector of it,s own citizens those same rights.
    Try living in the real world Fay. One in which you have to earn a living and not derive it from the hard work of others

  4. Anon @ 10.42 is spot on!!

  5. It is my intention to do further exams and attain Chartered status but not out of any thoughts of going for gold. It is simply that I do not want to face the prospect of being told in my late fifties early sixties that I have to pass further exams or that I will have to cease trading (as has happened to advisers of this age now)

  6. Spot on Euryn
    and the CII endorsed those actions.
    Advisers may be Chartered now but that will only stand up until the regulator decides it is no longer viable. Do not think your CII SPS will save you. It will not.

  7. Again bang on Anon 10:42

  8. Fay, I feel you have represented your CII pay masters well, inflated their exam coffers and promoted their status. You have supported RDR lobbied against grandfathering and as a consequence betrayed many worthy and professional men and women who have been assigned to an early retirement. I know of no other industry where your position would remain tenable. The Olympics is all about merit and effort and not the artificial credits of an examination hall.

  9. The Legal Ombudsman predicts it will deal with more than 100,000 cases a year. The body was set up under the Legal Services Act 2007 to simplify the system and make sure consumers had access to an independent expert to resolve complaints.

    NB: When you bear in mind that the LCS can only look at a case against a solicitor within 6 months of the act being complained of (not the life time of an IFA) and they can only investigate maladministration and fee disputes that’s a pretty high figure for a ‘fee-based expert’, that Fay consider “professiona”, especially when you realise that the IFA is subjected to an unappealable, compulsory, summary jurisdiction making awards as great as £150,000 and all with no protection from the Statute of Limitations and no 15 years long stop.

    Six years of exams and a very restricted complaint definition didn’t stem complaints against solicitors and Chartered status won’t matter a jot for the IFA!

    It will however pay Fays bonus and that of the CII!

  10. LIA reborn as the PFS but without a soul. 25th August 2012 at 10:16 am

    When the LIA was taken over by the CII it was reborn as the PFS but without a soul.

    No Fay its the PFS and the CII going for gold – paid for out of the pockets of those they have misrepresented.

    The IFA lack of complaints record already placed us on the top podium and you failed to support us in your attempt to secure an enforced place for your fee taxation.

    Compulsory membership of a recognised professional body was your gold ambition and your reward for regulatory support over the decimation of the independent sector, so please no lectures on gold standards.

  11. Unity and a sense of belonging does not apply to the IFA community.

    The deprivations of the RDR experiment allied to the economic situation and the rise of complaints mania makes the typical advisers life anything but happy.

    The accumulation of knowledge can be worthwhile in itself but the craziness of the extant exam system is that most of us are having to learn about matters we never have and never will advise on.

    In other words an exercise in futility apart from the regulator which ticks another box and the CII/PFS etc who bank another cheque.

  12. What support do you get from professional bodies?
    You pay the fees, you get the study material, you do the work. Then you pay for the SPS. Why is it that people want to take credit for those things they have no right to?
    Or is Fay inferring that the CII is some sort of Olympic style coach to advisers?

  13. Hello Fay

    I am an Olympian then not quite Vicky Pendleton, Mon Farah or Sir Chris Hoy but thank you anyway.

    I am one of those disappointed amongst my Chartered Peers at the lack of promotion of this Brand by the CII/PFS.

    I attended one of the regional meetings that Fay and colleagues presented at.

    I cannot understand why I pay more in fees with little to no promotion of the Olympian/Gold standard.

    Wearing my Chartered lapel badge is just not enough.

  14. @ man on the moon

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve mentioned this before and am told that ‘there’s a big promotion of Chartered coming soon’ and it never happens.

  15. Ask not what the advisers can do for you – tell us what the CII will do for its members.

    The CII has been a woefully weak lobbying body; seemingly content to benefit from the exam fees bonanza whilst putting very little effort into raising the profile of qualified members. How about you spend some money spreading the word to consumers about the benefits of the thousands of more highly qualified advisers? As but one example, did you lobby the Legal Services Board for chartered financial planners to be able to carry out probate and estate administration?

    Ivory Tower inertia does not convince your members that you have their best interests at heart.

  16. Why oh why can’t you offer many more exam sittings per year or produce exams to level 6 via on line testing systyem in line with level 4.

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