Professional Standing
Independent Financial Advice - Independent Financial Adviser

Background

Ian is well qualified to give independent financial advice. He is a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Personal Finance Society, the Society of Mortgage Professionals, the Society of Willwriters and the Society of Later Life Advisers.

He also holds an up to date Statement of Professional Standing from the Personal Finance Society which confirms he;
• uses a code of ethical standards,
• holds the required qualifications,
• has completed ongoing personal development, and
• follows the FCA's standards.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires that all investment advisers now hold a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS). An SPS can only be issued by an FCA appointed accredited body, such as the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).

CII/Personal Finance Society members advising on packaged products and / or securities / derivatives can apply for their SPS.

To be eligible for a SPS financial advisers need to satisfy the following criteria:

1. Be a member of the CII/PFS

2. Hold either a qualification which meets the QCF Level 4 requirements in full, e.g. CII Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning; or a 'transitional qualification', e.g. the CII Diploma in Financial Planning plus relevant gap fill which has been verified by an accredited body

3. Be an active retail investment adviser.

Financial advisers must confirm that they have complied with the requirements of the Statement of Principles & Code of Practice for Approved Persons requirements of the FCA's handbook "APER" and maintained their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) over the last 12 months.

So What is Continuing Professional Development?

CPD refers to the knowledge and experience that Ian has gained, both formally and informally, as he works, beyond any initial qualification.

It is an ongoing process and continues throughout Ian's professional career. By working with the Chartered Insurance Institute, he is eligible for his statement of professional standing.

Sometimes aspects of it are mandated by professional organisations or required by codes of conduct/ethics, such as, in Ian's case the Chartered Insurance Institute, the Society of Will Writers and the Society of Later Life Advisers, but at it’s core it is Ian's personal responsibility to keep his knowledge and skills current and warrant his statement of professional standing.

This enables Ian to deliver work that meets the expectations of his regulator and professional institutions, and customers.

CPD is often linked to the concept of “Life Long Learning” i.e. the fact we are all continuing to learn and add to our knowledge as we understand more about topics we already know about and as we become aware of and take on board new approaches and techniques. As a result Ian's statement of professional standing remains current and up to date.

A key aspect is the process of tracking and documenting the skills & knowledge gained and demonstrated; it's a record (usually electronic) of what Ian has experienced, learnt and then applied. It's not a tick-box document simply recording the training he has completed, it's broader than that, it is the means by which he can record the wide range of knowledge and skills he gained related to his professional life.

The CPD process helps Ian manage his own development in an ongoing manner by reviewing and reflecting on what he has learnt and hence to identify gaps/needs for future development. By demonstrating his competence Ian can meet the eligibility criteria to apply successfully for a Statement of Professional Standing by the Chartered Insurance Institute.

A key aspect of CPD is training both informal and formal. In particular with formal training it’s not just understanding the training and what he learnt on a course, but it’s the appropriate application of that knowledge/understanding gained in his actual work and hence to add value to the business as well as developing himself.

CPD ensures that Ian's knowledge stays relevant and up to date. It keeps it ‘cutting edge’ i.e. aware of new ideas and open to new and better ways of doing things. It opens Ian up to new possibilities, new knowledge and new skill areas.

CPD is beneficial for Ian's progression and advancement both within his profession and accreditation level in the Society. It demonstrates Ian's  commitment to the business and what he has achieved in his various career roles. The Statement of Professional Standing held by Ian is a document he guards jealously!