The Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) is seeking to create a register of what it calls "genuine" financial planning firms that could benefit from a regulatory dividend and lower professional indemnity insurance (PII) costs.
As part of its latest thinking on the future of financial planning, the IFP says the register would only include firms where at least half of its advisers were qualified to certified or chartered financial planner status and which operated on a fee basis.
Additionally, all registered advisers would need to be members of an appropriate professional body and use cash flow modelling as part of a client solution which would not necessarily lead to a product sale.
Company principals would also need to be prepared to sign a statement declaring their commitment to genuine financial planning.
The IFP wants to make clear its proposals, which would be introduced in the second half of the year, are not yet set in stone, but it says it wants consumers to be assured when they visit a firm they will receive the financial planning services they seek.
While consumers can find out the stated ethos of individual practitioners, it argues, they can not do the same for firms.
Chief executive Nick Cann says: "Individual planners can be recognised but the firm itself can not. We want consumers to have a great deal more comfort when visiting a financial planning firm."
Genuine planners should be considered lower risk than traditional advisers, Cann says, and should therefore benefit from lower PI rates and possibly a regulatory dividend.
"I am a firm believer one has to evidence something before they can expect to benefit from it. But I believe we will deliver what we have said we will."
The IFP says it wants to prohibit advisory firms that are not financial planners from being able to call themselves such.
It says it has become fashionable for firms to style themselves as financial planners to both differentiate themselves and give the impression of professionalism, but argues this has led to confusion for consumers.
According to the IFP, financial planning is distinct from traditional financial advice because it takes a "holistic" view of a client's circumstances and does not lead straight to the sale of financial products. It also typically offers a fee-based service.
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