For newly CISI-accredited financial planning firm Wealthflow there has not been a better time to be an adviser. What the industry needs now is a strong voice, founder Duncan Glassey tells PA.
Scottish wealth manager Wealthflow recently celebrated its tenth anniversary by becoming a Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) accredited financial planning firm.
And while founder Glassey said he saw many opportunities for advisers in wealth planning at present, he also pointed to challenges, the biggest of which was a lack of industry-wide joined-up thinking.
He said this prevented advisers from being able to challenge regulation effectively, in particular the high cost of regulation for advice firms.
Glassey said: "There's no better time to be an adviser but we have no common voice. It's like herding cats, we're too disparate. If we don't have a collective voice, how do we fight issues like expensive regulation fees?"
Glassey pointed to Financial Ombudsman Service statistics, which, he said, had continuously shown a mere 3% of financial services complaints were made about independent advisers, yet fees to regulate the sector were disproportionately high.
He said: "We have not had one complaint in the past ten years but still pay tens of thousands in regulation fees."
By becoming CISI-accredited Wealthflow has joined a list of just 74 firms, which have all proved they adhere to a strict set of criteria for the delivery of financial planning.
This includes that least 50% of their advisers must be Certified Financial Planners (CFP) and one director or partner has to be a CFP professional.
Financial planners used to be certified by the Institute of Financial Planning until it merged with CISI in late 2015.
Glassey said: "We had two main drivers for gaining this accredited status; firstly, we wanted to undertake a wholesale internal review, as documenting this allowed us to be quite critical of our processes.
"Secondly, we wanted to become part of that elite group of advisers that are at the same stage in their business as us and are therefore on the same page, in trying to be the best, which would push us to improve."
He added: "We're proud to say that we've 100% client retention over the past 10 years but didn't want to become complacent."
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