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IFAP rejects call for register of adviser firms

IFA Promotion has dismissed the Institute of Financial Planning’s call for a register of financial planning firms, saying that consumers are more interested in individual adviser credentials than the status of firms.

Last week, Money Marketing revealed the IFP’s proposal for the FSA to ban firms from calling themselves financial planners unless they reach stringent qualification and operational requirements.

IFP chief executive Nick Cann says only firms that have at least a quarter of their board or partners qualified to QCF level six and over half of their advisers certified or chartered should be allowed to use the title.

Cann says advisers must also be tested on their skills, have membership to a professional body and offer services on a fee basis.

He is campaigning for a register of financial planning firms to be run by either the IFP, the FSA or its new professional standards board.

Cann says: “One of the problems that we have at the moment is that there is no consistency of message to the consumer. This is one of the areas that the IFP is looking to address with these suggestions.

“If the consumer can ascertain what they might receive when they call an adviser who is a member of a registered financial planning firm, they are more likely to make a decision to call in the first place.”

But IFAP chief executive David Elms says consumers value being put in touch with individual advisers, not firms as a whole.

Elms says: “Just because a firm has a certain level of qualifications, that does not tell you what individual advisers have. I think that consum- ers value contact with advisers, not their firms.”

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