Personal Finance Society  

PFS launches associate membership status

PFS launches associate membership status

The Personal Finance Society has launched a new membership status in a bid to build public trust in a "united advice profession". 

The Associate Firm membership is "primarily aimed" at regulated financial advice firms, and will come at a cost of a few hundred pounds based on how many employees a company has. 

The status promises a "closer relationship" with the professional body and will require firms to provide evidence of how they are meeting certain standards under the membership if asked by the PFS. 

Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS, said: "Associate firm status publicly demonstrates a firm’s voluntary adoption of the professional standards and principles set independently.

"This alignment allows associates to stand tall behind a strong and proud inclusive united profession, placing clients and staff at the heart of its culture and focus." 

Associate firms with up to 10 employees will pay an annual fee of £250, those with between 11 and 25 employees will pay £300, firms with between 26 and 50 employees will pay £350 and those with between 50-99 employees will pay a £400 annual bill. 

The PFS said support firms were also able to "demonstrate their alignment with professional standards" under the membership, including product providers, platforms and training organisations. 

These types of non-practitioner firms will pay an annual flat fee of £650. 

Alasdair Walker, chartered financial planner at Handford Aitkenhead & Walker, said: "It seems like a positive move that should help businesses that provide services to financial planning firms show they have aligned their business to meet the ethical standards that their customers adhere to."

But David Hearne, chartered financial planner and committee member of the CISI financial planning forum, said he was worried by the new membership status. 

Mr Hearne said: "An unregulated firm of unqualified employees can now achieve the same corporate status as a regulated firm of qualified advisers, just by paying a little bit extra.

"It only risks further confusing what is and isn't financial advice." 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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