You may have noticed that we talk in some of our communications about the fact that we are a Chartered firm of advisers. This is an incredibly important designation for us but I’m aware that those outside of financial services might not be familiar with the term nor the difference it makes.
Chartered status as a concept has been around for many many years. In fact, The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), who granted Creative the status, claim that it was first established following the Norman invasion in 1066. We have held the status for several years now, although perhaps not quite as far back as that!
The concept is simple really. Chartered status is only granted to firms who have met the highest standards and qualifying criteria established and tested by bodies such as the CII. To achieve the status, firms such as Creative have to submit themselves to rigorous testing and assessment by the CII, as well as signing up to a continuous level of assessment, for which we must provide evidence.
For example, part of maintaining Chartered status involves us committing to the CII’s code of ethics. This includes mandates such as ensuring that we always act in our client’s best interests, amongst many other things. Not only do we sign up to maintaining a commitment to this code, we also have to show the CII evidence that we practice what we preach on a regular basis. For this element of the assessment, for example, we would have to show the CII that we consistently invest client money in ways which work for their requirements as individuals, rather than for our aims as a business – exactly as it should be!
As well as the ethics element of Chartered status, the CII also looks at elements such as our professional knowledge, ongoing development and training, the support we offer to clients, the frameworks we have in place to provide all of this and many other factors.
As you may be able to tell from the above, gaining Chartered status involves plenty of hard work from our side but it’s hard work we’re happy to do! From our point of view, the criteria covered when it comes to Chartered status are the same criteria that enable great financial planning. Without ensuring we have each of them in place we just wouldn’t be able to do what we do for our clients.
The alternative, of course, is to not be Chartered. It is possible to practice financial advice without achieving the status, but for me this would undermine our mission and, as above, not be conducive with our overall goal – to get the very best possible outcomes for our clients.
Craig Harrison, Managing Director, Creative Wealth Management