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Making advances

Conference season is approaching for the political parties, as it is for the professional bodies.

Change is afoot in the political world, as it is with the world of financial planning. The IFP has enjoyed some excellent partnerships during 2006, which it will be building on in 2007. An example of this has been the joint conference with Aifa and FP Advance focusing on business transition.

Aifa members have been asking for more support on fees and the IFP has always been regarded as the organisation with the experience, support and membership to help with this transition.

Two organisations with the will and desire to improve the environment for their membership have teamed up with Brett Davidson from FP Advance, a leading consultant in business transition.

There were 80 delegates at the conference, including representatives from the FSA and from some product providers. Advisers were there to evaluate and develop their own proposition.

The FSA and the providers were there to learn about the crisis that could occur if businesses are not able to move to a model that can treat customers fairly, train and develop professional staff and make a healthy profit for a job well done for very satisfied clients.

Underpinning Brett’s approach is a need to embed compliance into the business process and that every part of the financial planning operation should be subject to a series of processes. He does not suggest that everybody should be a mindless clone, which is clear from his presentation style. He is, however, an advocate of training, mentoring and coaching as advisers move through their career towards the pinnacle of professionalism that can be identified with those who have the Certified Financial Planner accreditation or equivalent.

The IFP has outlined a series of transition workshops for 2007, which splits the process down into four days run in two two-day sessions. This is mainly but not exclusively targeted at business owners, who will get the opportunity to discuss common issues with other leading businesses.

One of the important roles of a professional body is to be able to define its proposition and to ensure that it is consistently delivered to its constituency. The IFP is the UK professional body for those committed to the development of the multi-discipline profession of financial planning and, as such, focuses on the provision of training and support of the financial planner and the financial planning practice.

Through both strands, it is looking to improve the standard and quality of financial planning advice being provided to the UK consumer. This year’s conference will see a series of announcements that extend the scope of these services to deliver some compelling changes for 2007. We will provide a range of transition support and aim to run further events with Aifa and other bodies.

The IFP will see a change of leadership at its conference but not an enforced change. After two years, Ian Shipway stands down to allow Jane Wheeler to take over the presidency and to lead the IFP through one of the most exciting times in the organisation’s 20-year history.

Nick Cann is chief executive of the IFP


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