Advisers from Scotland, London and Somerset have become the first to pass the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments’ new Level 6 qualification for financial planners, putting them on track to obtaining the highest qualification available.
David Hearne, from London-based Satis Wealth Management, John Reynolds from Expert Pensions Advice based in West Lothian, and Somerset-based Crispin Glascow of Glascow Consulting obtained CISI’s new Level 6 certificate in advance financial planning.
All three are now on track, having passed their exam, to complete the CISI Level 7 case study assessment, thereby achieving outright the Level 7 diploma in advanced financial planning.
The CISI has restructured the study pathway for UK candidates for the certified financial planner certification, with the changes making the professional body's Level 7 diploma the highest level financial planning qualification in the UK.
Mr Reynolds, chartered financial planner, felt the new exam had complemented and stretched his skill set.
He said: “To test my perceived knowledge of cashflow modelling and financial planning I therefore wanted an independent accreditation where I could combine the technical with financial planning.
“The enlightened approach which the CISI Level 6 exam brings is exactly in line with the Financial Conduct Authority thinking on proper, deeper, critical pension analysis.
"The exam and case study prepares us brilliantly to write transparent, client-focused, suitability reports to enhance our advice and help improve client’s understanding.”
Mr Hearne, who is already a certified financial planner, decided to undertake the study and exam in order to challenge himself.
He said: “I have always wanted to maintain the highest professional standards as a financial planner.
“Taking this exam and the case study that follows will ensure that I am up to date on the latest thinking and best practices. It will also enable me to support my colleagues and future recruits at Satis Wealth Management to do the same.”
According to Mr Glascow, the advanced financial planning exam acts as an “excellent bridge” between the entry Level 4 financial planning and advice exam paper and the case study report required to achieve the Level 7 financial planning qualification.
He said: “Following completion of the exam, we were able to debrief the CISI on our perceptions of the paper overall and the robustness of the questions.
“It is always hard to recreate ‘real life’ with qualifications but this exam helps to test candidates on both the technical and practical skills required of an expert financial planner.
"I was delighted to find that I had passed first time with distinction.”
The CISI intensified its work on financial planning after taking over the Institute of Financial Planning in 2015.
It has since built a forum for financial planners and appointed Jacqueline Lockie as its head of financial planning.
It also teamed up with providers to launch helplines for financial planners who are part of its mentoring scheme.
The mentoring scheme launched on January 1, with certified financial planners acting as mentors to members of the forum who are searching for support in achieving professional goals.