Friday, 17 March 2017 10:00

Watts: Beginning of end for Certified Financial Planner?

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Chartered Financial Planner Nicola Watts APFS Chartered Financial Planner Nicola Watts APFS

I wrote early in 2017 about my hopes for the industry, and touched on unifying Financial Planning and Paraplanning communities, and how any future merger of the PFS and the CISI might give Paraplanners a voice.

This still looks a long way off, but on 1 March 2017 the new Chartered Body Alliance launched. The Chartered Insurance Institute (including the PFS), Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments and Chartered Bankers Institute have joined forces. Read more HERE.

All three bodies have confirmed that this is a co-operative alliance and most certainly is not a merger. But, they have committed to joint advertising, collaboration on research and jointly promoting the importance of professionalism and of Chartered and Certified statuses to the public. If this works, it will be good to see the professional bodes singing off the same hymn sheet.

If, rather than having separate budgets and agendas competing against each other, we could have a coordinated approach that really does raise the profile and consumer understanding of professionalism in the industry, then this really could be quite an achievement.

The website for the new Alliance makes plenty of reference to Chartered status and the Chartered title.

But only once do I see a reference to the Certified Financial Planner designation, and there’s no indication that it holds the same value as the Chartered designation. I was obviously interested to look into this as a Financial Planner who holds both Certified and Chartered titles myself.

Could a consumer read this information on the Alliance website and think Chartered is the thing to look for, and that Certified is not worthy of consideration?

Their marketing and PR people are really going to have a challenge to get across a succinct message when you have to consider both Chartered and Certified, and I wonder whether this might be the beginning of the end for the Certified Financial Planner title?

Maybe this is a bigger priority, simplifying and making clearer what each level of qualification is – we within the industry don’t understand the myriad of different qualifications and titles offered by no end of professional organisations. How is Joe Public supposed to understand it?

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Before the announcement of the alliance, Financial Planning Today had asked readers in a poll “which title is more valuable?” - Chartered or Certified - both level 6 qualifications.

Fifty five per cent of respondents thought the Chartered Financial Planner title was more valuable, whilst 23% thought that the Certified Financial Planner title was more valuable. The balance thought that the titles were equally valuable.

Which title is more valuable?

Certified Financial Planner - 22.1%
Chartered Financial Planner - 55%
Equally valuable - 22.9%

I wonder whether this is simply a reflection of the demographic of adviser responding to the survey? We all know that the CII has far more members than the former IFP and that the Chartered qualification is more widely acknowledged and better known within the financial advice community – are those numbers going to favour and see the qualification they hold as being of greater value?

I, myself would probably put them on an equal standing (I hold both!), one reflecting technical expertise and the other how to apply it and working to a structured financial planning process (although I understand this is a gross generalisation!).

What do you think about this debate? Let us know your views by tweeting to @FPTodayNews or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Biography

Nicola Watts APFS Chartered Financial Planner, Chartered Wealth Manager, CFPTM Chartered FSCI - director of Jane Smith Financial Planning

After joining the family business in 2000, Nicola qualified to provide advice in 2001, and has been a director of the business since 2006. Since the retirement of her mother (Jane Smith), Nicola bears sole responsibility for the management of the firm, and the advice provided to clients. Nicola is married to David and has two young children, Emily and Olivia, and Poppy the black labrador.

Last modified on Friday, 17 March 2017 10:12
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