On the face of it, financial advice and financial planning are pretty similar to the untrained eye.
But where financial planning differs is developing an overall, holistic view of what someone needs their money to do for them at various stages of their life, an end-to-end framework starting with your earnings, marriage, buying a house, raising a family to adulthood and even beyond, planning retirement and organising your tax affairs. Not to mention reviewing your investments and helping to manage your assets and many other things besides.
Without wanting to do down the role of the financial adviser, it can often be characterised as a focus on investment and its returns without necessarily considering – and preparing for - the specific client requirements in the round and across the years and decades ahead.
A chartered financial planner will not only create a structure with your objectives in mind. He or she will also have spent the time to really understand your financial goals and the motivation and reasoning behind them.
That’s because being only 14 per cent of the 5,000 or so UK financial planning firms have achieved Chartered status, which is something worth seeking out in any financial planner or financial professional.
In the words of the Chartered Institute of Insurance, which confers Chartered status: “By choosing Chartered, you are choosing a financial planner who has made a public commitment to professionalism. They must maintain standards of excellence in qualifications, ethics, business practices and professional development. The CII sets the bar, a firm meets it.”
Or, in everyday language, it’s going above and beyond for your clients in a way that’s defined by reaching the required yet challenging standard.
We’re proud that the efforts of our financial planning teams have been recognised in this way. Chartered status as a financial planning firm is more than just a badge, it is a nationally accredited benchmark.
So if you’re looking for chartered financial planners or, indeed, chartered financial advisers, a good starting point is to check on the CII, which will confirm whether or not their practice is what it says it is.
One final point. We have always prided ourselves on being the kind of financial planners people want to work with year after year. An essential factor in your search and selection is to take the time to talk.
After all, when it comes to your financial life, you need to establish trust, competence and honesty but also the ability to get on with each other as navigating your financial future is one of the most important, long-term commitments you are likely to make.