IFP members share hopes and fears for merger

IFP members share hopes and fears for merger

Losing the Institute of Financial Planning’s “unique” culture tops the list of the major concerns, in light of the body’s impending merger with the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, according to members.

In a move that sent shock-waves across the advisory sector, the professional bodies announced plans to merge in early August.

For Dominic Thomas, independent financial adviser at London-based Solomons IFA, the merger will be different, but maintaining the open dissemination of information culture is paramount.

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He said: “The extent of openness and willingness to share is something that is unique to the IFP – I have not come across other professions like it.

“For me, it has been massively influential in that it has introduced me to proper financial planning and has introduced me to so many people who are doing a really good job that you can learn from and it gives you the opportunity to pass on the things you are doing right and well.”

Carl Melvin, certified and chartered financial planner of Renfrewshire-based Affluent Financial Planning, said the merger makes business sense, which will amplify the body’s presence in the industry.

He said: “As it stands, the IFP is too small to have a big enough voice and influence change, so becoming part of an bigger organisation would give us that voice.

“The big concern that I think the majority of members will have is they want to be reassured that the culture and the heart of the IFP is preserved.

“Cisi is about funds and investment type things, financial planning isn’t necessarily about that. The major concern is whether those two cultures can unite and become a bigger yet harmonious organisation.”

Access to Cisi’s level seven Chartered Wealth Manager qualification has become a contentious issues in light of the merger.

To become CWM qualified, advisers are required to pass a postgraduate study which delves into financial markets, portfolio construction theory and applied wealth management, followed by a year of CPD.

Whereas, to achieve IFP’s level six Certified Financial Planner qualification, advisers must complete a diploma in financial planning, comprising of an exam on the principles of financial planning, and a case study followed by CPD.

Hadrian Halloway, diploma qualified paraplanner at London-based Baigrie Davies, pointed out that Cisi has rigorous exams which could be argued as more technical than the IFP exams.

“I am not sure how Cisi members would react to IFP members having access to the same level of qualification by taking a couple of top up exams, when they have taken a longer route.

“The CFP is hugely beneficial to IFP members but the same might not be said in reverse.”

When asked by FTAdviser sister paper Financial Adviser what changes are likely to be made following the merger, Alan Dick, president of IFP, said: “I do not have an answer just now I do not know. There are a lot of things we need to think through and talk through so I do not have an answer to that yet.”