A cohort of five advisers have overcome the first barrier to becoming Certified Financial Planners under the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments’ hardened course.
CISI, which raised the bar on the route to CFP status earlier this year, announced the latest cohort had passed their Level 6 exams and were now on track to complete the CISI Level 7 case study assessment, thereby achieving the Level 7 diploma in advanced financial planning.
In September three advisers became the first to pass the new Level 6 qualification after CISI restructured the study pathway, which made the professional body's Level 7 diploma the highest level financial planning qualification in the UK.
According to CISI the latest cohort to take the test were now “well on their way” to obtaining the CFP status.
One of the five, Dan Atkinson, head of technical at EQ Investors, said: “As I worked through my technical qualifications, I came to realise the importance of a holistic financial planning approach. This exam equipped me to apply my technical skills to the financial planning process.
“Combing the technical knowledge from a broad syllabus was daunting, but the combination of shorter questions and longer essay style responses made this an engaging exam. I enjoyed the challenge thoroughly.”
Athanasios Pallas of Cotswold Independent Financial Services and Ben Bolger of Arlo Associates were also part of the new cohort, while the other two advisers wished to remain anonymous.
Jacqueline Lockie, CISI’s head of financial planning, said the success of all five candidates was a “testament to both [the applicants’] focus and the effectiveness of CISI’s Level 6 Certificate in Advanced Financial Planning”.
She added: “Consumers worldwide are challenged by money management issues. However, many still don’t know who to trust for professional financial planning advice.
“Equally, the new generation of young people choosing financial planning as a career want to act with integrity and do the right thing for the consumer and the CFP certification is the globally respected credential which can match their personal ethics.”
Under the new pathway candidates looking to complete the study have to meet certain entry requirements for the exam, followed by a financial plan assessment at Level 7.
Once they have one to three years' relevant experience, have taken the CISI integrity test and logged their annual CPD, they can then hold the UK CFP licence, which is annually renewable with the professional body.
The institute states those interested in becoming a CFP who met the entry requirements — either the Investment Advice Diploma or the Level 4 entry grade — can achieve the Level 7 grade within 12 months.
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 teamed up with providers on a number of initiatives, including helplines for financial planners who are part of its mentoring scheme.