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New IFP president on gaining respect and influencing the FCA

Alan Dick Tues AM_12

The Institute of Financial Planning can more than double its membership in the coming years, according to new president Alan Dick.

Dick formally took over the presidency from Rebecca Taylor at the IFP’s annual conference this week, following the completion of Taylor’s three-year term.

Dick says the IFP’s merger with the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment gives the professional body the “quickest route” to increasing its membership from its current level of 2,000.

Speaking to Money Marketing, he says: “We did some work last year which estimated that 5,000 of the 21,000 regulated advisers are what we would term financial planners, or people we would consider capable of becoming financial planners.

“When we were looking at whether we could stand alone as an organisation, 5,000 is the kind of number we were aiming for. We feel the merger is a quicker route to that kind of target. I’m optimistic that is achievable in the foreseeable future.”

Dick says the merger will also give the IFP the training and assessment resources it needs to increase the number of advisers taking the certified financial planner qualification.

But he says integrating the two organisations “undoubtedly” presents the biggest challenge of his presidency.

He says: “We have a high level cultural agreement that we are both looking for the same things. In theory it’s fantastic, but the challenge is going to be making sure that theory comes to fruition, and that is going to need a lot of input from a lot of people.

“For example, we have a commitment that half of the branch content will be financial planning driven, but who is to decide what that means and what content is appropriate?”

Dick argues the merger will also give the IFP more influence with the regulator.

He says: “We have a lot of common ground with the regulator, so it is frustrating that there often doesn’t seem to be the progress we would like to see.

“One of our big beefs is there is a big difference between regulated product sales and financial planning. A lot of the consultations and working groups are heavily influenced by the large banks and providers, and at the moment we don’t have a big enough voice to make an impact. But the partnership with the CISI will give us a chance to sit at that table and make a real difference.”

Dick says the IFP would only push for separate regulation of financial planning if there were guarantees about what it would look like.

He says: “I wouldn’t rule out regulated financial planning, but the danger is you get people who don’t share our views trying to stamp their authority on our space. We’ve already had the term financial planner hijacked on a number of occasions – at one point every adviser in a bank was called a financial planner when we know they were just pushing the bank’s products.”

During his three-year presidency, Dick says he would like to see the profession become more respected and “gain its proper place”.

He says: “I want the public to understand what a financial plan is, and for children of school age to leave education wanting to be a financial planner, rather than falling into it by accident.”

But he says the regulator must introduce limits on advisers’ liabilities to encourage the best talent to join the profession.

Dick says: “To encourage the best people to join the profession, we cannot have unlimited, open-ended liabilities. Until that changes, law and accountancy will continue to be the professions of choice.”



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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “To encourage the best people to join the profession, we cannot have unlimited, open-ended liabilities. Until that changes, law and accountancy will continue to be the professions of choice.”

    Well said Alan.

    The restoration of trust in the industry is vital for its success going forward. But trust works both ways. Firms should have trust in the regulator and the regulatory process that should be nurtured by a mixture of clarity, fairness and pragmatism.

    At the moment the costs and liabilities incurred by poorly thought out, ever changing and often retrospective regulation makes taking on new entrants an unattractive option for many firms. And an impossibility to start a new firm from scratch, ie no clients like many of todays long standing firms did.

    As we told MP’s and the regulator, “consumers absolutely have rights that should be strongly protected, but in doing so the adviser consensus seems to be that those rights would appear to be taking precedent over everything else. Confidence in a fair and unbiased Ombudsman service is vital and the right of all who use or engage with the service, the complainant and those complained about.

    Limiting liabilities by time like other professions is a right seemingly removed by Parliamentary accident or intent. That must be reversed.

  2. Richard Clinton Green 7th October 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Until the push comes from the Government to limit the time for liabilities the FCA will continue to put two fingers up to Advisers and the Treasury Select Committee and they cannot see that anyone else is entitled to a viewpoint other than the bureaucrats. This might change with Wheatley’s departure but there a lot of Sants people still at the top so it will take a major change in direction to change anything.

  3. When you make bacon and eggs someone had to die! What will happen to IFP?

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