More than 200 advisers attended the Chartered Insurance Institute's first chartered financial planner graduation ceremony yesterday, described by all as "an historic occasion" for the financial services industry.
Over 600 advisers have been awarded the Chartered Financial Planner title since its launch in December and Brian Steeples, chairman of the Personal Finance Society (Pfs), expects 1,000 advisers to have been awarded the title by the end of this year.
He adds: “I believe the next generation of IFAs will predominantly be chartered financial planners.”
Steeples believes the introduction of chartered status is a “huge step forward” for the industry because it will improve its reputation and raise consumer confidence.
Further, he thinks it will encourage younger people to enter the profession, saying it will be “pitched alongside accountants” and give graduates a career path to follow.
But Steeples adds firms have their own part to play in encouraging “new blood” to enter the industry, suggesting they need to “create a business model that is sustainable in the long-term”.
The Pfs will be speaking to firms who have successfully taken on trainees to decide what it can do to help firms. Steeples says one possibility could be the creation of a centralised resource pool, like a bursary, which young people could apply for.
Victoria Hopkins, chartered financial planner at Howarth Clark Whitehall Financial Services, agrees the existence of a chartered title will encourage young people to enter the industry because they will “see it on a par with solicitors”.
Hopkins herself only left university six years ago and decided to aim for the chartered title for her own career development, to gain credibility and to raise the profile of the profession to her clients, solicitors and accountants.
Likewise, Caroline Banks, chartered financial planner at Caroline Banks and Associates, says the title enables advisers to show their level of knowledge to the public, while the examination process helps them keep up-to-date with developments.
Jonathan David, chartered financial planner at Helm Godfrey, adds: “Chartered status is the biggest thing to hit the industry ever. It will drive forward the perception of the industry by showing the public we are professionals.”
He is confident the next generation will increasingly seek out Chartered Financial Planners when they need advice.
Stephen Bland, director of the small firms division at the Financial Services Authority (FSA), who gave the graduation address, said: “An increase in professionalism will contribute directly to an increase in consumer confidence. Raising standards across the industry is a valuable contribution to treating customers fairly. The chartered financial planner status is a crucial step in developing the role of financial planners.”
Peter Hales, president of the CII, adds: “The chartered title creates an aspiration and goal for all advisers. My ambition is to create a truly professional financial planning sector which will provide consumers with the reassurance they seek and attract new entrants to the industry. The establishment of chartered status for our profession will do just that.”
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Emily Perryman on 020 7968 4554 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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