There is, though, one week of the year where all this help comes into focus and it needs some help.
Financial Planning Week, organised by the CISI and taking place next week from 3-10 October, is the key week of the year to promote the benefits of Financial Planning. It is one of the best professional initiatives in the calendar and one that Financial Planning Today wholeheartedly supports but, well, to be honest it could do with a boost.
Why so? This year about 50 Financial Planning firms will be taking part and many, like Northstar in Southampton, will be running pro bono drop in sessions in their local communities. Other firms will also be doing their bit with pro bono sessions, media contributions, local campaigns and so on but 50 firms is still only a fraction of the total Financial Planning community which runs to thousands of firms.
One factor is that the campaign is being run, laudably in my view, by the CISI which inherited the event from the
Institute of Financial Planning, the professional body it took over in 2015. However with only 1,000 Certified Financial Planners in the UK
the CISI’s Financial Planning section is dwarfed by the much larger Personal Finance Society’s 6,500 Chartered Financial Planners.
There is, naturally, some competition between these two professional bodies and both do lots to promote Financial Planning already and that’s a good thing but a joint campaign is necessary.
I do think that once a year they need to come together for the Financial Planning Week campaign - perhaps via the Chartered Bodies Alliance
which was launched recently and heralded better co-operation.
Why is a joint campaign necessary? Well despite the great efforts of many, there are signs in recent years that Financial Planning Week
is running out of steam. Relatively few planners take part and it seems harder to convince the media to cover the event without something ‘new’ to report.
The CISI deserves much praise for continuing with the campaign and, to be fair, it works hard all year round to persuade members to get involved and often with success.
But the campaign is not firing on all cylinders despite their best efforts because too few Financial Planners take part, realistically just a small minority are involved.
As I said at the start, I am genuinely impressed with all the planners do.
Rarely a day goes by when the Financial Planning Today newsdesk does not receive reports of charity events run by planners, initiatives to help in local schools, podcasts and website seminars provided for free for the public to help them understand their finances and so on.
That’s all great and does help but Financial Planning Week itself requires a new impetus and a joint CISI-PFS campaign (with perhaps other bodies joining in too) would do just that.
• This year the start of CISI Financial Planning Week is also marked by World Financial Planning Day on 3 October which is supported by the global CFP body, the Financial Planning Standards Board (FPSB). Some 175,500 CFP professionals worldwide will be urged to join the day.
• If you are a Financial Planner or Paraplanner and haven’t yet found the time to take part there is still time to do your bit if you have time. Just use the hashtag and slogan #PlanWell2LiveWell to promote Financial Planning’s benefits and send a press release to your local news outlets. Even offering a few pro bono advice sessions locally can really help to promote the profession. There’s more information on the CISI website too.
Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a financial journalist with over 20 years of experience