“It has been a very active year since the merger”, says Lockie. “Prior to the arrival of Campbell Edgar as Head of Financial Planning at the CISI and myself as Deputy Head back in May, the CISI was busy on reconciliation work, integrating individuals’ core membership data, qualifications history, past membership details and firm information. There have been a number of individual members who have gladly supported us from the start but we have been encouraging our broader membership to engage with the CISI to move financial planning forward.
A new internal structure
“We are committed to success and intend to grow the number of financial planners and paraplanners in the UK. We have formed the Paraplanner Interest Group and the IFP Professional Forum which are made up of committed individuals engaged to help us with this important strategy. The former IFP board has become the Forum Committee and continues to influence the direction of travel. All former IFP members automatically joined the Forum and they voted to elect seven new committee members recently, with Ian Howe as committee chairman.
“The CISI Paraplanner Interest Group is there to support and develop the role of paraplanning in the UK, and feeds its ideas and actions to the Professional Forum. Two paraplanners have also been elected to the Forum committee so there is a good, clear structure and cross fertilisation of ideas
Reaching out to consumers
“Our Financial Planning Week campaign in June this year was a highlight for me, with 48 firms signing up to offer free financial planning surgeries and advice sessions for consumers in person, via Skype or over the phone. The office received 600 phone calls over the week and the number of consumers using the Find a Planner tool on our Wayfinder website was up by 200% compared to previous years. Going forward, we will be joining with the FPSB in their social media campaign #Lifesbetter and #CFPexcellence.
Financial planning qualifications
“When it comes to qualifications, there are also plans to improve the robustness of the financial planning case study assessment as part of our diploma. As an immediate first step, we have created a complete pathway of examinations for those wishing to become fully qualified planners. This pathway can be joined at various stages by partially or fully qualified individuals who aspire to become CFP professionals. Since my call to members to get involved, we have been inundated with kind offers of help and support. So we will be liaising with the Professional Forum Committee on our plans to co-ordinate how to make best use of these offers.
“The future looks bright. We have twice the flow of candidates applying for and taking the CFPTM certification qualification compared to a year ago, and very positive feedback from the recent Financial Planning Conference. The launch of our new level 4 Financial Planning & Advice module will enable a newcomer to the profession to follow a direct pathway to the CFPTM certification within just three years.”
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