Three years of exams
Earlier this year, Andy, Lisa and I completed the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning by sitting and passing AF1 (taxation and trusts). On a purely personal level, I can reliably inform you that this was not the most interesting exam I have ever sat, but in many ways probably one of the most important. Over the last 3 years we have been taking exams and as a result of our success have individually been awarded the prestigious Chartered Financial Planner designation by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Achieving chartered status is equivalent to a bachelor honours degree, Lisa and I travelled to London in October to attend the formal graduation ceremony.
Chartered Financial Planners – highest possible standards of advice
As well as the enormous relief which comes from being able to take a break from exams, the realisation that we are amongst the best within our industry is tremendously satisfying. Hopefully sending a strong message to all our clients that we are totally committed to delivering the best quality advice, professionalism and integrity whilst remaining true to our core values. As Chartered Financial Planners, we have signalled our commitment to the highest possible standards of advice and service to our clients. We are passionate about our business and about the need for ‘advice’ to become a profession which enjoys the same professional standing and reputation as accountants, solicitors, surveyors and engineers etc. Chartered status is enjoyed by around 15% of the adviser community in the UK, rapidly becoming the benchmark for the profession. We believe a further way for advisers to show their true commitment to professionalism and standards.
In November we held a business planning day which provided a great opportunity to look forward to the challenges and opportunities we see coming and to look back at the successes and achievements of the last 12–18 months. We have certainly had a very busy 12 months with a full rebrand/new website going live in January 2017. We relocated in March after purchasing our office and undertaking a complete refurbishment. In June we achieved Chartered status followed by gaining Corporate Chartered Status in August. One colleague’s observation was ‘we are a proper grown up business now’!
Corporate Chartered Status
As I mentioned, in August Investing Ethically Ltd achieved Corporate Chartered Status. This required a proportion of individual directors holding Chartered Status along with a companywide commitment to continued professional development and adherence to a higher standard of the CII Code of Ethics. This means all staff are committed to personal and professional development plans. To date, fewer than 900 firms have achieved Chartered status, indicating that this is a highly exclusive award, reserved for the leading firms within the financial advice market. The Chartered title is steeped in history (the concept of chartered professionalism dates back to the 11th century), and remains the benchmark of professional excellence and integrity. Given the reputation of the financial services industry and the reputational damage from mis-selling along with the 2008-9 banking crisis, we believe holding Chartered status is more relevant than ever, in terms of winning and securing public trust.
So hopefully I have addressed the twin questions of what it means to work with a Chartered Financial Planner and more importantly, what it means for clients of Investing Ethically Ltd. Our business planning day was time well spent and we look forward to sharing a number of exciting new services which we hope to roll out in 2018. – These services are being designed to enhance your financial planning experience and to create further ‘enablers’ as you pursue your wider financial and personal plans for the future. On behalf of all at Investing Ethically Ltd, I thank you for your support and business in 2017 and we look forward to working with you all in 2018.