Back in 2012 the financial planning profession went through a massive shake up. It was one of the biggest overhauls of financial regulation since the Financial Services Act was introduced in 1986.
Commission was effectively banned on the sale of investment products. Product providers had to come up with new clear and transparent pricing and financial advisers had to be qualified to a higher standard. The result of all of this was a profession that is now highly regulated. More so than solicitors and accountants!
The job title of ‘Financial Planner’ became much more popular than ‘Financial Adviser’ as planning is what we do. It’s not about ‘selling’ investment/pension products or insurance. It’s about listening to your personal situation and what you want to get out of life and then helping to build a plan that will achieve it. Products are just the tools we use to help implement your plan.
Today, if you want to become a Financial Planner and give regulated advice you must go through and pass an approved level 4 qualification course typically taking 2 years. This is basically the same academic level as A levels.
If you want to become a Chartered Financial Planner you need go through and pass a level 6 qualification course (equivalent to degree standard). Together with the level 4 course this typically takes 5 years. You must also have over 5 years experience working in the financial planning profession.
According to Wikipedia, as of May 2016 of the 36,000 members of the Personal Finance Society only 14% are Chartered. You may ask why don’t all Financial Planners become Chartered? Well it’s tough! It’s not just the difficult exams to pass, Chartered status is so much more than a qualification. It’s the ultimate in professionalism that runs throughout your whole business. Chartered Financial Planners follow a very strict code of ethics. We even swear an oath during our graduation ceremony, this includes the line
“I will endeavour at all times to live by the highest standards of professional conduct. I will strive to ascertain and understand the needs of my clients and to always place their interests above my own.”
We must carry out a minimum of 35 hours Continued Professional Development (CPD) each year meaning we have to continue to learn, train and keep our knowledge up to date. Most Chartered Financial Planners will do much more than this. If we don’t do it the regulator can remove our permission to advise.
We are really proud to say that at RTS Financial Planning you will always be seen by a Chartered Financial Planner. The cream of the crop!
If you use or have a Financial Planner/Adviser why not ask them if they are Chartered and if they aren’t ask them why not?
Stock market linked investments and any income from them, can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Any figures quoted are for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as a forecast or guarantee. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future returns and clients may get back less than they have invested.