When selecting an independent financial adviser to help you with your financial planning it can be hard to know where to start. Chartered status can be an effective way of narrowing your options down as it provides an independent validation of the knowledge and standards that a person or firm have met.
The concept of Chartered professionalism dates back many centuries, and is an indicator of the highest standards of learning and ethical behaviour. Many people would no doubt recognise the title of Chartered Accountant or Surveyor, but would probably be much less familiar with the concept of a Chartered Financial Planner. The underlying principles of the title remain identical however, and as with other professions, the Chartered Financial Planner designation demonstrates the holder’s experience and expertise; it represents a commitment to providing a service of the highest quality.
All financial advisers must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, and hold an appropriate level 4 qualification (according to the levels in the National Qualifications Network).
What sets a Chartered Financial Planner apart is the additional study and qualifications taken to obtain the status, which is a level 6 qualification, equivalent to a Bachelors’ Degree with First Class Honours. This requires that they pass a variety of exams covering different aspects of financial planning, and that they also have at least 5 years’ experience within the financial services industry.
It doesn’t stop there, either: they must also demonstrate a commitment to continued learning by completing a certain amount of ‘Continuous Professional Development‘ each year. With tax and pension legislation undergoing considerable change and becoming more complex over the last few years, specialist knowledge and expertise is becoming ever more important in financial planning. Individuals who have attained the title of Chartered Financial Planner are unquestionably some of the best placed to be able to help achieve this.
Provided certain criteria are met, firms can also apply for corporate Chartered status, which recognises the firm’s wider commitment to encouraging and supporting professional development, providing high standards of service, and an adherence to ethical good practice.
In an industry where consumers are often sceptical following years of financial scandal, the corporate Chartered designation provides a method by which individuals can help ensure that they are dealing with reputable firms who they can trust to act in their best interests.
You can independently verify Chartered status via the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) website:
- For individuals, check here: http://www.cii.co.uk/web/app/membersearch/MemberSearch.aspx
- For firms, check here: http://www.cii.co.uk/web/app/charteredtitle/FSSearch.aspx
Chartered Financial Planner