Former Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard and ex-Aegon head of industry development Peter Williams have called for the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) to ramp up its criteria for corporate chartered financial planner status.
In response to the consultation, Williams and Goddard (pictured) said the CII should focus more on the culture and ‘mode of operation’ within a firm, than the number of individual chartered financial planners ‘as all employees of a firm benefit from the title and are therefore collectively responsible’.
The CII proposed that chartered individuals in a corporate chartered firm are prominent in the advice process through one or more of the following means:
- at least 50% of those providing advice are chartered individuals;
- a chartered individual triages all new customers;
- a chartered individual signs off all advice before it is issued;
- should they request it, all customers have access to a chartered financial planner
- an appropriate professional development programme for staff
Through their consultancy Williams Goddard Consulting (WGC), the pair said that firms should show they have a ‘clear pathway’ to allow all its advisers to become chartered.
They said: ‘To demonstrate commitment, chartered firms should provide at least one of the following: financial support for study materials and/or exam fees, study leave, financial or other relevant rewards for attainment of qualifications.’
To ensure good conduct is embedded through compliance, systems and controls, they suggested the use of Standards International’s BS8577 or an alternative way of evidencing these policies since it’s a part of the business many just ‘pay lip service to’.
WGC believe that making at least 50% of advisers chartered should be a longer term objective as it could be a barrier to entry and ‘seriously disadvantage’ larger firms.
It could also reduce the existing number of chartered firms substantially, even if given a reasonable time to comply.
The pair proposed that corporate Chartered status could be set on a three year rolling basis, so a firm who gains the award in 2014 with 10% of advisers chartered would need 20% by the end of 2017 and 30% by 2020 and so on.
They also suggested that fees should be discounted where a high percentage of the directors and individual advisers are chartered as an incentive, and in recognition of the higher individual membership fees paid by chartered members.