Thursday, 23 March 2017 12:00

Atkinson: Paraplanners will need Chartered status

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The whole ‘Chartered Body Alliance’ thing seems to have come out of nowhere to me. Clearly it has been brewing for a while and I think that it is a good thing for financial services.

I must admit that my initial reaction was surprise. As a member of both CII and CISI I thought it strange that there wasn’t any hint – a very well kept secret. And definitely not a merger! It’s a very functional name even if it does lead my over active imagination in the Star Wars direction…

Having had time to reflect, I think that it’s a really good thing for the three bodies to get together to promote Chartered status to the public. Chartered is the expectation for many professions such as accountants, surveyors and architects. I was surprised at how many different titles there are that bear the Chartered name when you carry out a web search.

As a protected title it carries an implication of professionalism and ethical behaviour. So educating the public that Chartered professionals do exist in financial services can only be a good thing. I hope it will encourage more people to attain this status.

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Chartered status is recognised outside of the UK, particularly within Commonwealth countries. Certified status on the other hand is recognised globally, but much less so in the UK. As a person in financial planning I would say that the two have different approaches. The Chartered route is more technical whereas Certified uses the financial planning process as it’s framework. But is this something that the general public know and appreciate?

It is in the interests of CISI to promote Certified status more. It is valuable for consumers. However, will this really work given the commitment to Chartered through the Alliance? I think that promoting the two together runs the risk of diluting the message that Financial Services can be trusted. I don’t think that Certified will wither and die, but I think that establishing the Chartered Body Alliance means that it will remain niche.

So what do I think this means to Paraplanners? The main point of the Chartered Body Alliance appears to be to educate the public about the virtues of Chartered status. Indirectly I think that it will signal that Chartered will be the new baseline for financial services professionals. In turn I think that Paraplanners will be expected to work towards this status as firms look to capitalise on this public promotion.

My team of Paraplanners at EQ Investors are all working towards Chartered status and are at various points in their journey. Even for those working towards their Diploma the goal of reaching Chartered is written into their long term development plans. The establishment of the Alliance underlines this importance.

Looking to the future, I’m convinced that Chartered status (both personal and corporate) will be the expected level for financial advice/planning. I wish the Chartered Body Alliance every success for the future. I hope that as well as promoting Chartered status, they are able to communicate the value of financial planning to consumers.

Dan Atkinson FPFS APP ACSI, Head of Technical, Chartered Financial Planner, at EQ Investors


Read 1309 times Last modified on Thursday, 23 March 2017 12:10
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