At this time of the year, the IFP goes through strategic planning sessions.
Crucial to this process is the role of an independent facilitator to probe, keep focused and patient while helping build a plan which will make sense to the stakeholders.
The IFP is lucky to have a group of A-list planners. The governance has been recently reviewed to ensure it is still appropriate to the environment.
The board size has been reduced and directors have a greater deal of responsibility for certain areas of the business. The board has also decided to form an advisory panel to ensure strategy and planning is consistent with market needs and trends. Leaders from the profession will be involved with this panel and add weight and insight to the activities of the IFP as we enter an exciting time.
Key to many organisations is the mission statement. This is often a lengthy sentence or two which has been framed by a board after discussion before consensus is reached and the statement posted in appropriate areas in the business.
The mission of the IFP has therefore been curtailed to “build and maintain the profession of financial planning for the benefit of consumers in the UK”. Everything that falls out of the IFP strategy documents will have this mission statement as the core deliverable.
The IFP is able to focus on financial planning as an independent organisation, which is comfortable working with any other organisations that can share this goal. This is why we shall see in the coming years a fuller relationship with the Manchester Metropolitan University and other likeminded academic bodies as we help build an exciting career for those interested in financial planning.
The IFP will undoubtedly have a much closer working relationship with the Securities Institute and the Institute of Chartered Accountants as they launch their financial services faculty in 2007. Six of the top 15 accountancy firms are now following the certified financial planner programme or considering it or 2007.
The recent speech by Clive Briault managing director at the FSA, covered so many issues that are crucial to the IFP in how the distribution review is dealt with.
Genuine professionalism is seen as key to the individual advisers and the IFP is on record in sharing this goal that all professional financial planners should have reached the level of CFP licensee or equivalent before they can earn this badge.
Planners need to be able to view the other professions with the same criteria as their own. This is why future developments with MMU are going to be so important.
More support and flexibility can be provided to advisers to get them up to the necessary levels. The goal must be that in five years, the number of professionally qualified advisers is approaching 50 per cent rather than the miserable 3-4 per cent at the moment. The benefit for professional financial planning businesses that can meet certain criteria should be a cheaper/better value regulatory environment with enhanced PI Insurance terms that will then drive best practice into the rest of the market.
The IFP will spend the next month and a bit honing its strategy for the next three years and building a communication strategy document to take out to the financial planning community.
Nick Cann is chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning