The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) says pro bono work may in the future exist as a course module that could count towards a qualification.
In its report 'Everybody wins: Pro bono work as a hallmark of the professional', it outlines how voluntary work should be considered "as important as passing exams".
It says stakeholders could offer pro bono work over a set period of time as a voluntary course module that could count towards a qualification.
Implementation, it says, may be along the lines of what is done in accounting degree programmes at some UK universities.
The awarding body would maintain lists of pro bono or volunteering schemes, to which registered practitioners are referred with an agreed terms of reference over a minimum period of time. The practitioner could then be required to submit a short report at the end of the scheme.
According to the CII's report, pro bono work in financial services is still relatively new compared to other sectors and professions.
But it says doing in-kind work on a gratis basis for the public or volunteering in support of a local cause can also help to advance professional development and rebuild public confidence.
Pro bono work could become a measure of professionalism equal to qualifications, it argues.
The body says it may be premature for UK financial services professional bodies to make pro bono work mandatory for their members as it is in the US.
However it avoids ruling out compulsion, and says the CII will "enable and incentivise" all individuals in financial services to offer free advice as they all possess some set of skills useful to the community.
Professional bodies could publish lists of individuals taking part in specific initiatives as a way of enhancing publicity.
"Pro bono and volunteering can take many forms whether you enjoy working with the public or not," it says.
"An underwriter helping to deliver their local institute lecture programme is just as much a pro bono activity as a financial adviser giving money planning to a Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB) client."
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