A merger between the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment and the Institute of Financial Planning seems to be on the cards with the announcement today that members are to be consulted on this radical proposal.
I have given this a fair amount of thought and should declare an interest here as I am a member of both. I am sure I am not alone in this, as so many of the people I know in the profession double or even triple hat their professional body memberships. As our roles and responsibilities have blurred between financial planning and investment management, the public understanding of what we do has grown and many of us have felt the need to pursue higher qualifications and professional standing from more than one body.
The international CFP accreditation is highly prized and respected worldwide. Some of us have also pursued a chartered accreditation from organisations like the CISI as we perhaps suspect this is a more familiar term for the public to understand. A proposed merger seems to make a lot of sense this point at the very least.
There is much more to it than that obviously though. Do I think the IFP could continue as it is? Yes I do. It has done a massive amount of good for the financial planning profession with relatively limited resources, mainly through the huge amount of work the board, branch chairs and individuals members have put in to make it a massive success. It has a highly technical, ethical and loyal membership who enjoy what they do and the interaction they have with their fellow members.
But the time is probably right that if the IFP truly wishes to realise its ambitions to further promote the professional of financial planning to the general public (and I personally do not doubt its sincerity) that it seek some scale and security by being the financial planning arm of a larger, well run and resourced organisation like CISI.
As a chartered fellow within the CISI I also think this is a great move for them. A strong, highly technical body of members who really embody everything that financial planning brings to wealth management seems like a good fit from their point of view.
I am but one member but this proposal will definitely get my vote.
Lee Robertson is chief executive of Investment Quorum