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Go for gold

Watching the Olympics has been inspiring . There are 10,500 athletes and sportspeople in Beijing battling for international recognition and the highest accolade of a gold medal.

I would love the Olympic spirit to inspire advisers. The principles are really no different and the rewards can be far more easily attained.

The PFS has nearly 1,500 chartered financial planners and each has shown dedication, commitment and made sacrifices.

When asked why they went for chartered status, many say: “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.

Being chartered is not just about personal achievement, it brings with it a nationally recognised status that will help drive public confidence and earn the trust of consumers. I was particularly pleased to see that in recent research by Aifa, the top response in a YouGov survey about trust, revealed that the highest score to the question “What would make you trust an adviser more?” was “To know that they are profession-ally qualified and follow a code of conduct.”

I should mention chartered firm status too. A business that is serious about developing its people and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism has much to gain from chartered firm status. A firm has to meet specified criteria but the key message to clients is they have an obligation to provide advice, service and ongoing support of the highest quality.

The benefits are enormous and place the firm in the category of knowing that the adviser is professionally qualified and follows a code of conduct.

Going back to the Olympics, I wonder how someone feels if, after all the effort, sacrifices and pain, the result delivered nothing – no medal, no public acknowledgement. They pick themselves up and try again. Failing an exam is disappointing but it should not be a show-stopper.

As more exams are the likely outcome of the RDR, I am pleased to advise that the PFS is already planning next year’s programme of support and, with increased exam sittings and revision days being planned by the CII, members will not have to wait years if they have to try again.

I believe there are thousands of advisers who are capable of being chartered financial planners. What most need is self-belief, drive and the knowledge that the effort is worthwhile. There are commercial benefits but the reward of self achievement is also important. It may take years and there could be knockbacks but once you get there, you have the chartered title for your working life. Go for chartered, go for gold, I am sure you will never regret it.

Fay Goddard is chief executive of the PFS

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