Five of the six professional bodies provisionally awarded by the FSA with accredited status this week will mandate membership before issuing advisers with practicing certificates. Want to know who they are?
In a move seemingly at odds with the regulator's explicit promise that advisers would not need to join an accredited body to obtain the obligatory statement of professional standing (SPS), the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP), Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (CIOBS) and the CFA Society of the UK all say membership will be mandatory.
Only the Institute of Financial Services (IFS) said it would likely offer SPSs to non-members.
Is this fair?
The FSA says that, as at least one organisation will offer the service to non-members, advisers still have the choice.
Remember, it wasn't too long ago the FSA was prevented from mandating adviser membership of professional bodies because they were told it breached human rights laws.
But could there be a situation where an adviser does not want to join an accredited body or obtain their SPS from an organisation they know little about or may not trust?
Surely, it is up to advisers who they obtain their SPS from.
Here's what some of the new accredited bodies said:
David Ross, director of communications, said: "I have some sympathy with those who do not want to be told what to do, but we are a membership-based professional body and have been for the last 100 years. To suddenly change our business model into something very different - into, effectively, a two-tier model - would move us away from why we exist. Our purpose is to help raise standards of professionalism."
Nick Cann (pictured), CEO, said: "Our core business is as a professional body for people committed to being part of the profession. We have no particular interest in people not committed to that. If you think you are a professional and part of a profession, and the requirement is to have an SPS, surely you can see the benefits of joining an accredited body."
"The CISI will be limiting the issuance of SPSs to members, plus the staff of corporate supporters, who will have already demonstrated their commitment to professionalism through adherence to its Code of Conduct. The CISI will not be able to verify individuals who have not declared their compliance with the CISI Code of Conduct."
CFA SOCIETY OF THE UK
Will Goodhart, CEO, said: "We have chosen to limit SPS issuance to members because accredited bodies must vouch that individuals have agreed to adhere to and abide by a code of ethical and professional standards. We can only monitor member adherence to our code and standards. We would have no authority to investigate non-member activity and so it would be unsafe for us to issue SPS to non-members."
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