Derek Varty, an IFA at Financial Planning Objectives, says the general qualifications’ tickbox on the Find an IFA search engine only selects advisers with advanced qualifications.
He says: “I know that I am going to have to get higher qualifications in the next three to four years but, as it stands, I am just as fit to give advice as anyone else. I have been subscribing to the website for four years and I have only had four leads in that time. I am not getting more leads because of the general qualifications box.”
IFAP chief executive David Elms says the website has never listed the FPC because it is compulsory for all IFAs and not a differentiator.
He says: “General qualifications refers to qualifications that cover more than one knowledge area. Why would consumers assume that general means a basic qualification when there is an icon next to it that explains it is an incremental qualification?
“Only 35 per cent of consumers tick a box in the qualifications’ section, so if advisers are not getting many leads, it is probably due to their website rather than qualifications.”