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Cisi starts Unbiased qualification investigation

Cisi starts Unbiased qualification investigation

The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment has begun an investigation into claims made by Which that many advisers on the Unbiased database do not hold the qualifications they claim to have.

Research from the consumer body earlier this week found half of the sample of advisers it looked into on the search engine did not hold the accreditations listed next to their names on the adviser promotion site.

Cisi said it was particularly concerned only 36 of the 92 firms which claimed to hold its qualification were actually on its official list.

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A spokesperson stated: “We are concerned by the findings and our professional standards team are investigating further.”

Unbiased were contacted for additional comment, but did not respond at time of publication.

Which looked at advisers based in 10 postcodes and searched for those claiming accreditation by Cisi and other issuing bodies, discovering that only six of the 21 companies claiming to have achieved the BS 8577 certification appeared to actually have it.

Meanwhile, of the 39 firms that claimed to hold ISO 22222, 13 appeared to have no advisers working for them with the certificate.

A spokesman for Which stated one possible explanation was that the advisers’ qualifications had lapsed, particularly as ISO 22222 and BS 8577 certificates must be renewed each year, meaning it is possible an adviser could have previously held the certification and not updated their Unbiased profile.

Another possibility was that firms were working toward a qualification or certificate but had not yet achieved it.

peter.walker@ft.com