Chartered what?

1st February 2016

Neil and I are delighted to announce that we are now Chartered Wealth Managers.

Einstein apparently said “if you can’t explain it to a 6 year old you don’t understand it yourself”. When trying to explain my new designation to my mother (who is clearly older than 6) I realised how difficult it must be for clients to understand the myriad of qualifications that can be achieved in our profession.

One approach is to ignore qualifications completely, on the assumption that all financial advisors are good enough.

I believe that anyone who has complex needs should not deal with a planner who has only achieved the minimum qualifications! So here’s a quick summary of some the qualifications that exceed the minimum qualification level:

Diploma with a red silk ribbon, isolated on black background.

Certified Financial PlannerCM Professional (CFPCM) – this is awarded when a technically qualified planner, with the required experience, is able to demonstrate the application of their technical knowledge to prepare a comprehensive Financial Plan for a client. When I achieved this in 2006 it was a eureka moment; I realised that all aspects of a client’s life are connected, not just their financial matters, and that Financial Planning is not the same as financial advice

Chartered Financial Planner – all Chartered Financial Planners have completed degree level professional qualifications and have at least five years’ experience. They adhere to a code of ethics and commit to ongoing professional development. Whilst a candidate requires a significant number of exam passes covering a wide range of technical knowledge, there is no necessity to provide evidence of an ability to plan.

Chartered Wealth ManagerTM – this is a postgraduate level specialist qualification which encompasses the breadth of knowledge needed to provide a high quality service to clients. The recent merger between the Institute of Financial Planning and the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) resulted in this designation being awarded to both Neil and I because our existing qualifications and experience, together with the completion of an ethics module, demonstrate the required level of competence.

In some countries the use of the title “Financial Planner” is tightly regulated. Unfortunately this is not the case here in the UK where there is nothing to stop anyone from using the title, regardless of whether or not they really are capable of providing a comprehensive Financial Planning service to their clients. Clearly then it is important for a client to establish that their adviser has the skill, knowledge and experience to do so. While you should not rely solely on an individual’s qualifications or title when seeking to identify the right adviser for you, one would expect a Financial Planner to have obtained the CFPCM and (ideally) a Chartered designation as well.

At Fortitude we find that the best adviser / client relationships result from mutual rapport and trust underpinned by confidence that recommendations will be appropriate, technically correct and with the client’s best interests at heart.