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Trade bodies are cashing in with the qualification sprawl, says IFAP chief

IFA Promotion chief exec- utive David Elms has criticised trade bodies for confusing customers by swamping the market with qualifications to line their own pockets.

Elms says customers shopping around for IFAs are baffled by the number of qualifications for advisers. He says some trade bodies are launching new qualifications just to make money and are ignoring the damage they are causing.

He says the launch of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s chartered financial planner accreditation has added to the confusion as many customers will not be able to distinguish it from the Institute of Financial Planning’s certified financial planner qualification.

IFAP research shows 38 incremental qualifications across eight bodies. Elms is calling for the range of qualifications to be reduced and trade bodies such as the CII and the IFP to be merged.

Elms says: “These bodies are just creating these new qual- ifications to improve their pro- fit margins. This is crazy. Anything that creates confusion for consumers damages the reputation of the industry.”

CII group public affairs director John Ellis says: “There are a few other organisations that are trying to compete with the CII by concentrating on a corner of the market. If anything, our recent merger has already reduced the number of qualifications we offer.”

IFP chief executive Nick Cann says: “The CII launching its chartered qualification will lead to confusion but our proposition could not be clearer. We only have one qualification.”

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