Granite guidance

Alphabet soup – adviser qualifications

"You are good at exams!" I have heard this comment quite a few times over the years from other advisers and it is a comment that really makes me laugh and sometimes despair.

It is true that over the years I have developed reasonable exam technique and reading and working through past papers is normally part of my exam preparation.

But my real secret unsurprisingly is that I have no secret. I have studied hard, and put in the work and long hours required.

I have sometimes had to miss out on social events in order to pass the various exams and qualifications over the years.

Now as a result of undertaking a programme of professional development I have quite a few letters after my name.

Does it make you a better adviser?

I can only answer from personal experience and in my case the answer is a definite yes. I have learned a huge amount over the years and my advice to clients has improved and continues to improve as a result of constantly improving my knowledge.

Why do I despair?

Because the majority of advisers only do the bare minimum required of them and think that further qualifications are forced upon them needlessly by the Regulators and don’t add any value.

I completely disagree and feel that lifelong learning applies to all professions not just financial planning.

Would you rather be operated on by a surgeon who has studied and learned for several years or by someone who turns up on the day with an O level in Biology?

If your adviser is not Chartered or Certified and have been in the job for more than 10 years I would suggest you ask them why.

You do have a choice and if your existing adviser does not hold the above qualifications it might be worth getting a second opinion from one that does. You might be surprised what your existing adviser doesn’t know.

Paul Gibson, Chartered Financial Planner, Chartered Wealth Manager, Certified Financial Planner, Fellow of the Personal Finance Society.

PS It is a lot of words and a cracking score at scrabble but the letters themselves are not important, it’s the knowledge accumulated over the years that is.

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