To provide financial advice all advisers must be qualified to a required level as stipulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It is important that your adviser has these exams and is registered with the FCA. While the basic qualifications are important you may find you receive higher quality advice from a specialist adviser, especially if that adviser has taken and passed further qualifications. While qualifications are not a guarantee of an adviser’s ability it is a good indication of their professionalism and standards. We hope the guide below helps explain how our industries qualifications work.
Most qualifications have been assessed under the Qualifications & Credit Framework (QCF). These are graded between Levels 1 & 8. In terms of Financial Advice, since 1 January 2013, qualified Financial Advisers offering advice in the investment market must have the equivalent of QCF Level 4 or above and hold a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS). Some of the relevant levels are detailed below.
Level 4 – Diploma in Financial planning. This is the level of qualification required by all advisers who give financial advice in areas such as Pensions, Income Drawdown and Inheritance Tax Planning. We firmly believe that this is the level that clients deserve and expect from a professional financial adviser. The requirement for all financial advisers offering advice in the Investment market was introduced with effect from 31 December 2012. QCF Level 4 is the equivalent of components at degree level.
Level 6 + – Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning and Chartered Financial Planner status. This level enables adviser to develop their knowledge in specialist planning areas. Our advisers are working towards this level to make sure they remain the most qualified individuals in the industry. This is a significant commitment and takes a number of years to complete. Chartered level is the highest achievement by an adviser and is the result of the full completion of Advanced Diploma standard with additional requirements for experience.
In addition to qualifications, since 1 January 2013, advisers in the investment market i.e. regulated savings and investments, pensions and inheritance tax planning have been required to hold a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS). The SPS indicated that an adviser has signed up to a Code of Ethics and that they have completed at least 35 hours of professional training each year. An SPS is renewed annually to ensure that an adviser is fully up to date with their knowledge and changes in the industry and regulation.
Please feel free to discuss qualification levels with any of our staff, they will happily explain their level of qualifications to you.
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