This article summarises the findings from the latest Chartered research studies. It includes outcomes from consumer research, a study into the views and experiences of corporate Chartered Financial Planners title holders, and other Chartered professions' opinions on the Chartered Financial Planner title.
2012 consumer research
In April 2012, the CII ran a national survey assessing public attitudes towards Chartered status. The 2012 survey was conducted online nationally by Opinium Research: 2,015 adults
- CII's Chartered status is six and a half times more recognised than the IFP's CFP*. 65% replied absolutely that they have heard of or seen qualifications/logos associated with Chartered, compared to only 10% who replied absolutely that they have heard of or seen qualifications/logos associated with CFP
*Institute of Financial Planning's Certified Financial Planner
- Most people are more likely to use Chartered firms than firms without the Chartered title: 64% of customers who had a view (excluding the 'don't know's) said they would be more likely to use a Chartered practitioner than otherwise
- Consumers who said that it makes no difference to them whether a practitioner is professional or not has decreased from 13% in 2009 to 10% in 2012
- Only 5% thought that the existing benchmark of A-level (Level 3) was an appropriate level of qualification for someone advising on financial planning such as pensions, life assurance and taxation
Skandia UK surveyed 706 consumers (financial decision makers or at least joint financial decision makers) in July 2012 on their feelings towards independent versus restricted advice. The research found that the 'Chartered' status, the highest level of qualifications a financial adviser can achieve, is more important to consumers than the 'independent' label:
- Consumers were asked whether they would prefer an independent or restricted adviser: 51% said they would prefer an independent adviser, compared to just 1% who said they would prefer restricting. 32% didn't mind, believing the quality of advice was most important
- Researchers then asked consumers their thoughts on Chartered status. 86% found Chartered status to be attractive, with 49% considering it extremely attractive
- Finally Skandia asked consumers what was more important, independent status or Chartered status by asking individuals what they would prefer: a restricted adviser with Chartered status or an independent adviser without Chartered status. Two thirds (67%) said they would prefer a restricted adviser with Chartered status - clearly showing when compared to the first bullet point that it is the expertise of the adviser which really matters to consumers
Skandia UK carried out an adviser confidence survey in Q3 of 2012 (closed 3 Sept 2012), in which 550 advisers were questioned.
- Data from Skandia shows that 78% of advisers could reach Chartered status in the future - 18% of advisers surveyed are currently qualified to Chartered status - 29% are already studying towards it - 31% are thinking about studying towards it. If both these latter groups of advisers pass the exams the number of advisers with Chartered status will increase three fold. Just 22% of advisers do not have any intention of studying towards Chartered status
- The survey also revealed that 86% of advisers believe Chartered status is of value - 45% of advisers considering it to be important or extremely important
Corporate Chartered Financial Planners research
The CII regularly conducts a short online survey of firms holding the Chartered Financial Planners title to see how Chartered status has impacted on perceptions of firms and also on key business metrics like winning business, increasing referrals and attracting staff. The last survey took place at the beginning of 2014.
What motivated firms to gain corporate Chartered status?
- Demonstrate commitment to delivering a professional service - 97%
Firms say Chartered status has enhanced perception of the business as a professional organisation for...
- Prospective customers - 91%
- Other professionals (e.g. who may refer business) - 91%
- Potential new staff - 87%
- Other insurance/financial services businesses - 82%
- Existing staff - 75%
- Existing customers - 67%
Impact of Chartered on business metrics
- 72% believe corporate Chartered status has helped attract more potential clients
- 64% believe corporate Chartered status has helped win new business
- 56% believe corporate Chartered status has helped increase referrals
J.P. Morgan: Professional Connections report
In May 2012, J.P. Morgan published a report adding to the growing consensus that Chartered status raises IFAs' competitiveness in professional markets. The new report surveys over 200 legal and accountancy firms across the UK, and finds that when evaluating advisers, these professions place very strong emphasis on qualifications, looking for firms with Chartered status
- 62% of accountants and 68% of solicitors regarded holding Chartered status as important for evaluating a new IFA
- 70% of solicitors and 83% of accountants already refer clients to an IFA, and both professions believe there is potential to increase this level of referral
- When assessing an IFA, both solicitors and accountants put very high emphasis on recognised professional qualifications. Chartered status is highly sought after and considered very important by twice as many respondents (Accountants: 62%; Solicitors: 68%) as an IFA's length of experience (Accountants: 38%; Solicitors: 32%)
PressChoice 2012 * - What the media thinks of Chartered
- 90% of journalists think Chartered status conveys commitment to ethics/ professional development. Out of that 90% group, 94% would recommend a Chartered practitioner over a non-Chartered practitioner
* Prestige journalists (editors and deputy editors of national personal finance sections)