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Half of chartered advice firms do not promote status

Half of chartered advice firms do not promote status

Less than half of firms with corporate chartered status promote this fact effectively to consumers, research has shown.

Adviser consultancy Yardstick Agency found fewer than 49% of firms on the official directory of corporate chartered financial planner firms listed a correct website address.

While two thirds of chartered firms display a chartered logo on their websites, Yardstick said 70% of these firms made the logo difficult for clients to find.  For example, only 30% display the logo on the header on the firm's homepage.

To get corporate chartered financial planner status a firm must meet a number of criteria. A minimum of one of the board’s members must hold the CII chartered financial planner title and a minimum of 25% of advisers in the business must be chartered too. Also, the entire board, plus a minimum of 90% of customer-facing staff, must be members of the CII.

Phil Bray, director of Yardstick Agency said it is a shame chartered firms are not making the most of their status.

‘We believe chartered status is a real differentiator. If you, or your firm has achieved chartered status why wouldn’t you promote it? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,’ he said.

Bray said there was  'no doubt' some advisers are sceptical about the benefits of promoting their chartered status. But he claimed clients are more likely to do business with a chartered firm. 

A 2016 CII survey of high net worth business directors and SME owners found 77% were more likely to choose a chartered firm over a firm without chartered status.

Rebrand

The CII has recently re-branded and has rolled out a new chartered logo.

Bray said this was the ideal time for those who have earned chartered status to make sure they stand out.

He said: ‘The CII has unveiled a new brand identity and with it new marks for both chartered advisers and chartered firms.

‘Over the course of the coming weeks advisers will need to update the mark they are using. It is therefore the ideal time to take a fresh look at how they are promoting their chartered status.'

Yardstick Agency offers IFAs a checklist to make sure they are on top of promoting their status.

A spokesman for the CII said receiving chartered status 'is an achievement of great effort and distinction and we encourage all chartered firms to explain to their clients why it matters to them'.

He said: ‘We provide them with ways on how to spread this message and will continue working with them to make this clearer.'

However, he also said advisers should not rush to rebrand if it would leave them out of pocket.

‘We have not set any strict stipulations or deadlines for the rebrand. To keep costs at an absolute minimum, we advise members and  chartered firms to continue using any material featuring the old branding until it is used up before updating their collateral.

‘We expect by early 2018 most will have successfully used up any existing material with old branding and switch over to our new visual identity,’ said the spokesman. 

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