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Call to differentiate advisers by commitment to higher standards

16 October 2018

The Chartered Body Alliance has called for advisers to be differentiated by their commitment to higher standards.

In response to an FCA consultation on a new directory to help consumers check the status and history of advisers, the Chartered Body Alliance has called on the regulator to include details about those who have pledged a personal commitment to higher standards and those who have not.

The Alliance, which has a global membership base of 200,000, says the current proposals by the FCA fall short of their aim to empower the consumer by failing to include what it deems “key and relevant” information.

Instead, it would like to see details about professional body membership and whether the individual holds a valid Statement of Professional Standing.

Sian Fisher, CEO of Chartered Insurance Institute, comments: “We believe that predominantly the public interest lies in knowing that the Directory person is authorised to do their role, and suitably qualified to do so. Both of these are important factors for consumers to evaluate when considering their options for the provision of financial services, who would have a clear indication about the adviser’s ability to practise and also have a clear signpost to further information about the individual from the professional body itself – for example, information about further qualifications and specialisms on the professional body’s website.’

Simon Culhane, CEO of the CISI (pictured) added: “Details about professional body membership, and whether the individual is an SPS holder, is, in my view, materially relevant information.  Being a member of a Chartered professional body is an achievement signifying an ongoing personal commitment to high levels of knowledge, skills and behaviour that go beyond the minimum standards required by regulators.”

In addition, the Alliance wants greater emphasis on “individual accountability” in the Directory. While firms must take steps to ensure that data is accurate and complete, the Alliance says individuals also have a responsibility to disclose information accurately and be as open as possible.

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