He reassured his followers however that he is “still a Chartered Financial Planner and Accredited Later Life Adviser,” which means, he says, enough CPD and training opportunities to keep him ‘current.’
Mr Bamford, managing director of Informed Choice in Surrey, said that he is “sad to say goodbye” to his Chartered Wealth Manager and CFP titles, both awarded by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment which is based in London and has 40,000 members around the world.
Mr Bamford, a regular columnist for Financial Planning Today and media commentator, said that he was rationalising his professional designations to cut down on paperwork and CPD.
Mr Bamford originally joined the Institute of Financial Planning in 2007 when he completed the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) case study and certification with them. He has remained a member since, including a stint as co-chairman of the Surrey branch. The CISI took on the awarding of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation when it acquired the IFP in 2015.
Speaking to Financial Planning Today he said: “My decision to relinquish my membership and associated titles has been a while coming, as I’ve been underwhelmed by life as a member post-acquisition. With the exception of the activity at a few remote branches, the focus on Financial Planning has all but disappeared and communication from the CISI has been sorely lacking.”
The ‘final straw’ for Mr Bamford was dealing with an inflexible CPD recording system, he told Financial Planning Today.
He said: “Rather than spend my precious time doing CPD admin over the Christmas break to satisfy an audit deadline of the New Year, I’ve decided to relinquish my membership instead.
“The decision means that I can no longer use the titles CFP professional or Chartered Wealth Manager, which is a shame. I will continue to be a Chartered Financial Planner, Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and SOLLA Accredited Later Life Adviser.”
In an environment, which according to Mr Bamford has so many requirements for CPD, he urged professional bodies such as the CISI to “work hard to demonstrate genuine value to members.”
He concluded: “Judging by the response to my message on Twitter yesterday, I’m far from alone in making the decision to leave the CISI and many other Financial Planners have reached similar conclusions.”
Mr Bamford has in the past expressed his concern regarding Certified Financial Planner’s future in the UK. In a column written for Financial Planning Today, he said: “Certified Financial Planner dominates Financial Planning titles on an international level, but fails to do much here in the UK.”
Mr Bamford also said that the merger between the IFP and CISI had “demoted Financial Planning within the new organisation.”
The CISI announced last year that it wanted a more “level playing field” with the PFS’s rival Chartered Financial Planner qualification. There are over 5,500 Chartered Financial Planners in the UK and approximately 1,000 Certified Financial Planners, with some planners holding both titles, as in the case of Mr Bamford until now.
However, there are 170,000 Certified Financial Planners worldwide, far outstripping the number of Chartered Financial Planners.
More than 2,000 of the CISI’s 40,000 members use the Chartered Wealth Manager designation, including many Financial Planning members from the IFP which merged with the CISI in 2015. The IFP did not have a Chartered designation and its members achieving its highest qualification – Certified Financial Planner professional - used the title Certified Financial Planner.
Martin Bamford’s full column can be found here.