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Regular readers of our blogs may notice that the content ranges from personal opinions to factual information on product specific matters. Those of you who receive the FMB newsletter by email may have already heard that all FMB planners and senior support staff are undertaking the Institute of Financial Planning’s (IFP) Certified Financial Planner’s course which started on Monday.

What this means in practice is that I will be required to invest 600 hours of time in order to be certified as a Financial Planner by the IFP. For a long time we have championed the benefits of what I like to call proper financial planning rather than “financial advice” or product selling. I am extremely pleased that there is now a professional qualification available that will identify quality financial planning services. I would hope by now that most of our clients are aware what is meant by “Financial Planning” however for anyone who does not use our services the answer of choice is often the internet and a quick Google of the phrase “what is financial planning” results in:

“In general usage, a financial plan is a series of steps or goals used by an individual or business, the progressive and cumulative attainment of which are designed to accomplish a financial goal or set of circumstances, e.g. elimination of debt, retirement preparedness, etc. ...”

I prefer to think of it as being about you; where you are now, where you wish to be and how you are going to get there but perhaps I over simplify matters. The point I raise however is that this is what we do, it is what we have always done and it is what we want to continue doing. The world changes, economies rise, fall then seem to flat-line for a while. Regulation and paperwork seems to get more thorough with every passing year and we now live in a culture of where there’s blame there’s a claim. But beyond all of this our clients still need us and we believe this qualification will raise professional standards and fits in with how we choose to work.

However at the heart of everything we do is you, the client. I don’t think it matters how many letters we have after our name or if we give ourselves a pat on the back. The only way to measure our success is when your objectives have been achieved. The question you need to be asking yourself is are you currently receiving a financial planning service or simply financial advice?


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