A local IFA has become the first personal financial planner in Wales to be certified to ISO 22222 by Standards International.
Richard Hill, managing director of Monmouthshire Independent Financial Advisers, becomes the first in Wales and only the 39th in the UK to be awarded the internationally agreed benchmark for personal financial services.
The certification recognises a high level of competence and ethical behaviour and will further boost consumer confidence in the Monmouthshire Building Society subsidiary, which is also an accredited member of SIFA. The ISO certification is an ongoing standard, with checks carried out every year.
Hill says he is delighted with the first-in-Wales accolade.
"It confirms my commitment to ensuring I deliver the highest standards of quality to my clients. This certification demonstrates that we have the correct systems and processes in place.
"You have to be diploma level do the ISO course and then they tell you what standards are required before conducting an audit on your business."
Whereas it normally takes around six months to get a firm up to scratch before the audit, Hill says it took just four months.
"I've spent four years getting the business up to standard," he adds.
Hill says Monmouthshire IFA has invested heavily in staff training.
"We have a very sensible budget in place for training and the majority of the staff started undertaking qualifications before the RDR came along."
And he thinks the RDR and the qualifications it proposes will be a good thing.
"I think its positive for the industry - the FSA wants to ensure high standards, but a lot of advisers won't make it."
Whilst conceding that the last year has bought its challenges, Hill says Monmouthshire have taken steps to shore up the business.
"Its important to communicate with clients in good times and bad," he reveals. "Cash and property have not been the best asset classes of late but its about segregating clients, all of whom have different long-term goals."
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