Lift Financial's decision to ditch the ‘IFA' label and use ‘chartered financial planners' exclusively instead caused some consternation on the message boards of IFAonline this week.
The firm, which won the chartered financial planning firm 2012 award at this year’s Personal Finance Society conference this week, said it cut ties with the IFA tag to disassociate itself from less professional parts of the financial services arena.
Group commercial director Michelle Cracknell told IFAonline that “very few people had experienced good financial advice”. She went on to say the industry had been “dominated by salesmen rather than advisers, all using the same nomenclature”.
The firm said, therefore, it wanted to leave the IFA term behind. That, of course, is its prerogative.
Understandably, those attached to the IFA label were quick to defend it, with several readers condemning Lift Financial’s position as ‘elitist’. One said the whole thing was “so 2009”.
Another point made on the site was that qualifications themselves do not guarantee commercially savvy “decent” advice.
Peter Taylor wrote: “Many people have experienced good financial advice without the chartered label. This does nothing for consumer confidence.”
Elsewhere this week, Shane Mullins, chief executive of Fiscal Engineers and founder of the Question of Trust Campaign, gave up his fight to restore confidence in financial services as a whole. He blamed the industry’s “apathy and malaise” for his decision.
Mullins said he could not continue to push consumers to trust in financial services while industry leaders “singularly fail to face the question of trust”. By this, he means the Financial Conduct Authority, which refused to sign up to the campaign.
He told The Times: “An industry that delivers nearly 10% of our GDP and should be one of the great poster children of our commercial activity is in an appalling state.
“Unless we tackle and arrest the challenges the industry faces, collectively, together, and get greater collaboration, we’re going to keep going round the merry-go-round and the poor consumer is going to be left confounded.”
But the fight is not over yet – former IFA James Dickens will continue the crusade to bring back consumer confidence.
He said he would continue to work alongside Nick Cann, chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning, Keith Tondeur, president of Credit Action, and Professor Christine Ennew, pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Nottingham, to take the campaign forward. But will the people in high places listen?
Deputy editor, IFAonline.co.uk
(Scott Sinclair is away)
Industry Voice: Scottish Widows pension expert Robert Cochran and economist Andrew Scott discuss the future of employment and income, in episode three of Scottish Widows' podcast series.
What made financial headlines over the weekend?
Follows McVey's resignation
Schroders and Aviva Investors