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Chapters makes the grade as 12th firm with BS 8577

Keith Churchouse, director of the firm in Guildford, said: “We have worked hard in 2013 to increase our business edge in the service and the quality of our client and enquirers’ proposition, whether they are individuals or businesses.

“I am thrilled that we have achieved this certification, which was hard work but I believe this raises our standards even higher.”

He said Chapters was “committed to a process of ongoing assessment” that would ensure its processes and services were continually assessed by an independent certification body each year.

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BS 8577 is the only professional quality standard within the UK’s financial services industry to focus solely on the following key areas of business practice:

* Operational management.

* Objectives and policies.

* Management responsibility.

* Customer relationship management.

* Recruitment, training, development and ongoing competence.

* Control of documents and records.

Launched in 2012, and with a particular emphasis on assessing a financial advisory firm in relation to its entire offering for and handling of clients, BS 8577 has only been awarded to 12 IFAs in the UK since its creation.

The standard was launched in summer 2012 and to achieve the BS 8577 firms must go through an 18-month accreditation process with Standards International to fit the principles into their company structures.

Dan Palmer, head of market development for the British Standards Institution, said the BS 8577 had “generated a lot of interest” among the advisory community.

He said the next step would be to introduce a kitemark for the profession.

Background

In February Cheshire-based Trusted Planning became the first advisory firm in the northwest of England to be awarded BS 8577. The firm’s two partners, Dan Brocklehurst and Graham Waterworth, were already accredited with ISO 22222, the standard for best practice in personal financial planning

BS 8577 and ISO 22222, which was launched in 2005, are backed by stakeholders such as the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Personal Finance Society, and the Institute of Financial Planning.