The UK's four leading financial professional bodies have agreed to create a new independent board which will oversee, develop and ensure consistency in industry standards.
As part of the new ‘Edinburgh Declaration’, the Chartered Insurance Institute, Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, Institute of Financial Planning and Securities & Investment Institute have agreed to create a new board – with an independent chairman – to sit above their respective organisations.
The bodies believe the new declaration will raise consumer trust in financial services and alleviate the FSA’s concerns on professional standards raised in the RDR.
Tackling the ‘alphabet soup’ problem is vital to improve the public's understanding and confidence in financial qualifications, the bodies outlined.
They also wish to develop a higher qualification benchmark, with a clear transition process to achieve this.
The bodies want:
- The introduction of higher-level benchmark qualifications for advisers
- Appropriate professional standards for the ‘primary (or assisted purchase) tier’ or whatever emerges in the space
- Pragmatic transition arrangements to enable changes to take effect and send a clear signal of a "step change" to higher standards
- Encouragement of individuals and firms who aspire to higher qualifications to move beyond the new benchmark level
“This initiative today is about creating broad principles underpinning our activities,” CII chief executive Dr Alexander Scott says.
“We welcome the other bodies responding to our call to bring about a step change that is visible to consumers and enhances trust and confidence in the profession."
Have Your Say:
"Existing standards boards have statutory authority, therefore teeth. We will certainly engage with the FSA on this matter as they are the only organisation that has such statutory status to make a standards board workable. Existing statutory standards boards are necessarily independent of the professions and professional bodies which gives them appropriate credibility in the community at large." - an ifs School of Finance spokesperson says
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