The importance of professional qualifications, licensing and accreditations

Dec 12, 2018 | Tony Byrne's View


I have long been an advocate of high professional and ethical standards because it is important to have high standards for a number of reasons.

Firstly, clients expect it. They pay us high fees and in return they expect high standards of advice. These days clients are more demanding than ever and rightly so. They have worked hard to earn their money so they want value for money from it.

Secondly, the higher the professional qualifications of our staff the better protected our clients and us are against giving poor advice. If we give bad advice a client could make a complaint and potentially make a successful claim against us. We would be out of pocket and we would probably lose a valuable client. A definite lose:lose situation if ever there was one.

Thirdly, our staff’s confidence and pride gets a great lift from success in attaining professional qualifications. It’s a great thing to observe just how much our team grow as a result.

Fourthly, new clients seek out well qualified advisers like us because they don’t know us and, unless they have been referred to us, have no other way of judging us other than our website, our marketing literature and our online testimonials. It gives them confidence in us even before they meet us.

Fifthly, higher professional qualifications require us to have above average ethical standards as the ultimate sanction from our professional bodies is to be struck off.

Sixthly, higher professional qualifications mean lower professional indemnity insurance premiums to our firm.

Seventhly, advisers have to earn Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points every year by proving they have self-studied for a minimum of 30 hours. Personally I put in at least 100 hours of CPD every year sometimes exceeding 200 hours. I take professionalism very seriously.

Last but not least the more qualifications we have the more areas of business we are authorised to conduct by our regulator the FCA.

Personally I am one of the most highly qualified financial planners in the UK. I am a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Planning, a Chartered Wealth Manager, a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments and a member of the Society of Will Writers.

I am an accredited member of the Society of Later Life Advisers, SOLLA, too. SOLLA is for those advisers who have a specialism in long term care advice.

I joined Resolution as a member a few years ago. Resolution is the professional body for matrimonial lawyers. I decided to join Resolution because of our specialism in pensions on divorce.

The minimum level of qualification for giving financial advice in the UK is Level 4 but we insist on Level 6 for our advisers which is Chartered and/or Certified Financial Planner level. Likewise for our financial Paraplanners. We even require our business manager and administrators to sit and pass the appropriate professional qualifications.

As a firm we believe that high professional standards create a win:win situation with our clients. So if you want to work with a firm with a win:win approach and the very highest professional standards why not get in touch? You know it makes sense.

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