PFM Associates are proud to say that they have held Chartered status since January 2009, acting as a kitemark for quality in the eyes of the public and being widely recognised as a symbol of trust. PFM Associates was one of the first local firms to be awarded this status by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), and continues to be distinguished from many other firms in this respect.
This recognition is more important nowadays as quite rightly consumers understandably expect to deal with Financial Advisers who can provide first class service, advice and support.
Fewer than 500 firms can boast Corporate Chartered status in the UK. (Source: Chartered Insurance Institute, March 2019)
What does the Charter mean though and why is it such a symbol of excellence?
Essentially, Chartered status enables us to be able to demonstrate our professional commitment to raising standards of knowledge, capability, and ethical practice. It lets our clients know that they will receive the highest levels of service from us.
Any client who engages the services of a Chartered Financial Planner can expect the highest level of qualifications to have been achieved along with the highest standards of professionalism.
Royal Charters date back as far as the 11th century and can cover bodies such as universities, charities and professional institutions. On the advice of the Privy Council a Charter is awarded by the Monarch of the time. These are granted in rare circumstances and in general terms only done so where there is a convincing case that it is in the public interest to provide Government oversight of the body, and where a profession is able to demonstrate a track record of achievement over a number of years.
Once a professional body is granted this Charter they are then able to grant ‘Chartered Titles’ to individuals and firms which meet strict qualifying criteria. In our circumstances the CII, who were granted its Royal Charter in 1912, must uphold the rules of its Charter and in turn the holders of the Chartered titles such as PFM Associates must comply with their Code of Ethics.
Chartered Status brings with it some serious obligations on the part of the adviser. We are required to ensure that our advice and ongoing support is:
- Of the highest quality
- Based on the client’s researched needs
- Provided by someone operating within their level of competency
Advisers must meet these requirements in a number of ways:
- A commitment to professional development, including attaining the highest qualifications
- An adherence to continual professional development that is evidenced to the CII.
Even though the Royal Charters are a British Institution it is widely recognised outside of the UK as well. Being able to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to professional development is a set of values that is recognised the world over.
At PFM Associates we are proud to have achieved the status of Chartered Financial Planners and continually strive to meet the code of ethics and standards of professional qualifications set by the CII. We believe that the ethics and values required to maintain the Chartered Status are in perfect accord with our own principles of integrity and trust.
Independent research shows that consumers attach real value to a Charter marque. They clearly see it as an objective measure of a business’s professionalism, commitment to quality and adherence to ethical standards. Becoming a Chartered firm demonstrates that awardees have every right to lay claim to genuine professional status.
Paul Lothian BA(Hons), ACII, APFS
President, the Personal Finance Society