I was talking recently to a financial planner who had only been running his business for 18 months. As he is a CFPTM
professional I asked him if he planned for his business to become an accredited firm. He said he was unsure. He wanted to see how matters panned out following the merger between the IFP and the CISI, and whether the cost of accreditation would actually help him bring in new clients.
In all honesty, I have not had clients flocking to our doors since my business Uniq Family Wealth became accredited. However, I put that down to the fact that the system was still in its infancy. Since the merger took place, it has been almost back to the drawing board, ensuring that the mission and vision of accredited firm would be upheld. As a member of the CISI Accredited Firms’ Committee, I can assure members that this is what it aims to achieve.
So why become accredited?
You will have demonstrated the ultimate in professionalism through the calibre of your team and the service provided to clients. The CISI recognises these firms as leaders in the financial planning profession, as well as individual excellence through CFPTM
Becoming accredited will not only help to distinguish your business from its competitors, but also ensures that you are part of a community for sharing best practice and working together to build awareness of the value of a financial planning service.
It demonstrates your firm’s commitment to providing a comprehensive financial planning proposition in the truest sense and not just in name. It shows that your planners really understand the six steps of financial planning and can use the tools of their profession, such as cashflow modelling and analysis, creatively and powerfully for the benefit of their clients. As a result, consumers have confidence in your firm’s ability to help them achieve their life goals and a 'life well lived'. Every week, I meet with clients who value this approach.
The CISI is committed to achieving broader recognition with the public and other professions. Over time we will improve brand awareness through national campaigns, PR and marketing.
This enhanced professional recognition provides strong external recognition of your commitment to the highest ethical and professional practice standards in financial planning. As a result, your firm will also become an 'employer of choice', attracting and retaining staff of the highest calibre due to the high standards of excellence to which you work.
As I write, Surrey-based Citywide Financial Partners has just been named as the latest company to become an accredited firm. As expected, Citywide had to demonstrate it met strict criteria in relation to the delivery of financial planning, placing clients at the heart of its business and ensuring they received consistently, excellent service. In my book, that’s reason alone to become an accredited firm.