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Let’s rise from the Ashes

England’s success in the Ashes has captured the imagination of countless people who hitherto thought that cricket was boring. What we saw was two great sides showing tremendous professionalism and team spirit as they strove for one of the greatest prizes in their sport.

England’s regaining of the Ashes was the result of a group of talented individuals working together as a team to achieve a specific goal.

Just as the Ashes were reaching their climax, news was received that the Privy Council had granted chartered status to the IFA sector so that the CII can now award the title of Chartered Financial Planner.

Great news, one would think. In fairness, nobody in their right minds would suggest that it is not a good thing to recognise professionalism at the highest level.

Interestingly, we learn that the CII consulted with at least 24 other organisations to seek their views on the new title. Again, it would seem unthink- able that any of these organisations would suggest this was a bad idea. That would be the case unless one of those organisations asked had been the Institute of Financial Planning.

This is probably the organisation that is best qualified to comment on the appropriateness of the new title. The IFP has been and will continue to be an authority on the profession of financial planning and the development of financial planning practices. This role has extended to its seat on the International CFP Council and therefore its part in developing standards around the world. The IFP has been setting standards in financial planning since 1986 and since 1995 has been the exclusive licensee in the UK to market and administer the Certified Financial Planner licence.

Since that time, the market has started moving to embrace integrated comprehensive financial planning and now just under 500 individuals hold financial planning’s highest standard in the UK – part of an international community of 100,000 in 18 countries.

When dealing with a Certified Financial Planner, a consumer knows they are dealing with a practitioner who is academically and practically qualified to practise financial planning at the highest level.

It is disappointing that the title Chartered Financial Planner has been picked because it will clearly add to confusion as opposed to differentiating between individuals who are performing different roles for clients.

The CII was always in a difficult situation because potential trademark issues exist with both the CFP and CFA and it will have its reasons for choosing Chartered Financial Planner over the more appropriate Chartered Financial Adviser. It is, however, the least helpful option it could have chosen and pushed through without consultation in the spirit that might have been desired.

The challenge is for the CII and IFP to work together to ultimately benefit the consumer and their understand- ing and expectations when they visit a particular type of adviser.

We have a lot to learn from our cricketing heroes in how to work effectively towards a common goal, engaging a greater number of the individuals involved in financial planning.

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