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Twittering with excitement

At last, progress appears to have been made. The FSA is now looking at a pragmatic solution to the QCA level 4 dilemma. Time is being spent evaluating the core functions of the role of an adviser and ensuring that there are appropriate qualifications to meet these standards.

This update will allow existing advisers to take the qualifications that they want to get to the required minimum level, taking comfort from the FSA’s “no regrets” policy.

Perhaps clarity and common sense can now be extended to other areas but as ever, let us hope that the interests of the consumer can always be at the heart of decisions made.

Despite the difficult economic situation, there are so many positive developments currently underway and the value of professional advice has never been greater.

Communicating this is key and it provides an ideal opportunity for the financial services community to work together. Financial Planning Week in September is an ideal opportunity for all of us to combine and provide a genuine focus on helping the consumer.

It baffles me that during the last six months, there seems to have been little in the shape of key messages put out to the consumer through the media yet members of the Institute of Financial Planning report high numbers of new enquiries and new clients. Perhaps these new clients were previously DIY investors or clients of advisers who have left them for dead with the downturn in the markets.

Many advisers have had their competence exposed and have run for the hills. Good advisers are reaping the rewards of strong communication and a robust client proposition.

In the last month or so, I have been approached by six individuals, all in senior positions within financial services, who are looking for a financial planner to work with. People need context and they need strategies to help them plan their lives as well as their finances and now is the time to be proactive. The demand is there, we must just make sure that we can provide the service that consumers want.

Communication is vital, as we all know, and the growth in social and business networking should not be overlooked. There is a responsibility on us all to understand the best way to communicate with our clients and potential clients, including the new tools that are there to help us.

The IFP is looking at how it can improve member experience and as we work towards Financial Planning Week, how it can link into a far greater audience.

I have become a Twitter, joined LinkedIn and Facebook and have a weekly blog which is available to anybody. Readers can register on http://www.financialplanning.org.uk/planners/unCANNed.cfmThere is definitely some mileage in understanding new and effective techniques of communication, even if it is just so that you can understand what your children are doing.

Nick Cann is chief executive at the Institute of Financial Planning

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