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The rise and rise of qualifications

Scott Stevens

Scott Stevens

There has been a surge in the number of advisers setting out to achieve chartered financial planner status in recent years.

In fact, the figures from the Chartered Insurance Institute show the number of chartered planners has risen over 60 per cent since 2010.

It is often speculated that part of this rise is because the industry is looking to professionalise itself.

I recently caught up with a couple of Financial Adviser School students who are embarking on the Level Six course to find out if this was indeed the case.

Sarah Seeley from Birmingham-based financial advice company Kind Wealth explained she chose to do her qualification because she believes having chartered status will give her more gravitas when dealing with her clients’ other professional services advisers such as accountants and solicitors.

Sarah says: “When you are dealing with a client they naturally want to trust your technical skills, but it’s often your soft skills that are used in client meetings.”

This view was echoed by former member of the Royal Navy turned financial adviser, Matt Ling from Bespoke Financial Guidance. He says: “It’s also my belief that the whole industry is moving towards chartered status and I’d like to have already done the course before or as and when it becomes mandatory.

“Another part of my reasoning is simply to do with professional pride. I want to be able to call myself an expert in certain fields of financial advice, and until I do my qualification I can’t do that.”

Neither Sarah nor Matt are under any illusion that the course is going to be a walk in the park.

However, both have a clear view that the course should be manageable, even with the day-to-day pressures of working and home life.

Getting a chartered qualification is not the only route for advisers.

Indeed, some will prefer to spend more time gaining on-the-job experience.

However, for others, like Sarah and Matt, there is a real belief the qualification will make a significant difference – both in terms of being perceived as professional, as well as their belief in themselves. 

Scott Stevens is director of adviser recruitment and acquisition at Quilter Financial Planning