CII wins chartered status for financial planners

The Chartered Insurance Institute has received confirmation from the Privy Council that it has been granted permission to award the new title of chartered financial planner.

This decision has been seen as a landmark in the drive to raise the standing of financial services with the public, and means that financial advisers will now be part of a chartered profession.

This has been seen as good news for the industry as, although not all financial advisers will wish to achieve the level of qualification necessary to earn the title, its existence confers chartered standing on the profession as a whole.

Being able to demonstrate a professional path to chartered status will also be a major advantage in the industrys efforts to attract the brightest and the best new recruits, it is believed. It is also good news for consumers as, for the man or woman in the street, it will signal that qualified professional financial advisers are available to help them with their individual financial planning needs.

Peter Hales, incoming president of the CII, says: “The establishment of chartered financial planner status introduces a new, internationally recognisable benchmark of quality and ethical practice for professionals involved in giving financial advice. It will signal to the public that financial advisers and financial planners are fit for purpose and elevate financial services in the public eye to the same standing as other Chartered professions. It will also be a major contributor to raising levels of consumer confidence in the financial services industry.

Brian Steeples, president of the Personal Finance Society says that he believes this to be: “The most important development in financial services in my lifetime and will help to raise awareness of financial planning as a profession both with practitioners and the public.”

To be awarded chartered financial planner status, an individual will have to gain CII approved financial qualifications equivalent to first degree level, be able to demonstrate relevant experience, adherence to the CII s code of ethics and conduct and a commitment to continuing professional development. The CII has written to members of the Personal Finance Society announcing the introduction of the chartered financial planner title and advising them that they will receive details of eligibility and how to become a chartered financial planner in November.

Members who meet the qualifying criteria will be invited to apply for chartered status in anticipation of an inaugural award ceremony to be held early in 2006. The CII estimates that some 500 people will initially be eligible to apply for the chartered financial planner title. The main route to the chartered title will be via the Advanced Financial Planning Certificate, and the new financial planning framework that is being progressively introduced from October 2005. The new framework will be modular in design so that financial advisers and planners will be able to select courses and examinations to test their knowledge and competence in specific areas.

Employees and employers will be able to plan career development paths to meet both personal and business goals. Accreditation will also be given to other qualifications that meet the CII s criteria.