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PFS and IFP must work together

The nonsense being spouted by Tim Eadon cannot go unchallenged. The PFS needs to adopt an honest, descriptive title for chartered members before it can begin to be taken seriously and gain respect.

The title chartered financial planner is a misnomer for many holding it. There is nothing in the syllabus which calls upon an adviser to show planning skills.

The holistic paper is the closest it gets and there is a difference between holistic advice and planning. So we have some chartered advisers with planner in their qualification who have not demonstrated planning skills and quite deliberately choose not to carry out financial planning, preferring to give financial advice. That is their choice and I have no grievance with that as long as the client understands.

What is wrong is the misrepresentation to the client, not intended by the adviser but forced on them by the PFS adopting the wrong title: “His card says he is a planner, therefore I assume he is a planner.”

The PFS deliberately chose to take on the IFP when it chose chartered financial planner instead of chartered financial adviser. There was some spurious case put forward about not wanting the title to get confused with some other chartered profession but as the chartered financial planner title cannot be abbreviated, how could confusion ever arise? The Privy Council should look very carefully into what has gone on here.

The PFS should stick to what it does best – providing training and raising the technical knowledge of financial advisers.

Despite complaints about the ever changing syllabuses and need to retake exams to keep up to date, nobody does it better and the argument that other professions need not go through the constant exam process like we do does not hold water. It is the other professions that have it wrong.

If the PFS and IFP were to get together and perhaps agree on a higher minimum AFPC requirement needed to be included in the certified status requirements and promote each others’ offering, the whole of the adviser/planner and public arena would benefit.

I have always been proud to be a certified financial planner because of the ethos of the institute but hesitant to promote the chartered financial planner status because it does not do what it says on the tin.

A strong PFS should be looking towards working alongside a strong IFP, not trying to belittle it. Every time it tries to, it just belittles itself. It says a lot for the professionalism of Nick Cann that he never feels the need to attack the PFS and what it does but constantly has to defend the work of the IFP. But then Nick is not the one feeling the need to justify himself.

On the grounds of relevance to the public, the FSA should treat the PFS and IFP as equals. When it comes to integrity however, it might well question the chartered title and ask the PFS if it really understands what a financial planner does.

Ian Pealin
Chartered financial planner
Focused Financial Planning

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