I read with interest Alistair Cunningham’s column in Money Marketing at the end of last year, “chartered status has been cheapened”.
Thomas Carroll IFA was named Chartered Financial Planners of the Year in 2009, the first time this prestigious title was awarded. We still take great pride in this accolade and can talk at length about the benefits it has brought to our business, as can all chartered firms.
While agreeing with Cunningham that we should be protective of this status, I fear many of his comments have added to a feeling of mistrust and resentment against the Personal Finance Society and our industry. I am disappointed firms are engaging in this negative debate.
I also agree when he says chartered financial planner status can be achieved with no actual financial planning skills. But individuals should quite rightly take pride in their level of knowledge and technical expertise whether they wish to be in a client facing role or not. We encourage and reward each member of our team to reach their full potential, whether that be an IFA, paraplanner or well-qualified administrator.
The PFS Consumer Confidence Campaign was launched to create a more vibrant financial planning sector that is well thought of and highly trusted. Firms should sign up to the seven principles:
- Refrain from openly criticising or deriding our peers and their processes.
- Respect that differing business models are not necessarily bad or wrong.
- Do not anonymously join public debates that may bring the profession into disrepute. If we have a view, it will always bear our name.
- Talk positively and constructively about our profession to maintain a united voice.
- Remind others that the majority of advisers within our profession operate to the same ethical standards.
- Inform clients about our commitment to professionalism by our continual updating of knowledge and skills through CPD.
- Demonstrate to peers that we are committed to working together as a profession by displaying the campaign logo and, even when in disagreement, conduct ourselves in a way consistent with professional standards and respect others’ views.
On 20 December, the PFS circulated an update on corporate chartered status, which addressed many of the criticisms made – but there is clearly still work to be done. I hope we can reflect on the principles of the Consumer Confidence Campaign and work together as a profession in 2019.
Louise Eedy is a chartered financial planner at Thomas Carroll Wealth Management