You may have heard of some financial firms as being Chartered and wondered what it stands for. The general definition of a Chartered professional is ‘someone who has gained a specific level of skill or competence in a particular field of work, recognised by the award of a formal credential from a professional body’. Chartered status is considered a mark of professional competency and is awarded mainly by Chartered professional bodies and learning societies. It originates, in fact, from Royal Charters being issued to professional bodies by the British Monarch.
However, in terms of financial matters, corporate Chartered status is awarded by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) to firms of Chartered Insurers, Chartered Insurance Brokers and Chartered Financial Planners. There are also five individual Chartered titles: Chartered Insurance Broker, Chartered Insurer, Chartered Insurance Practitioner, Chartered Insurance Risk Manager, and Chartered Financial Planners.
The CII only grants the title to individuals and organisations who meet strict qualifying criteria. Currently, over 23,000 individuals and more than 900 firms have been awarded Chartered status. Businesses and individuals must demonstrate:
- the highest levels of technical and professional knowledge and competence through professional qualifications
- a commitment to keeping their knowledge and skills up-to-date through continuing professional development
- ethical conduct through adhering to an industry Code of Ethics enforced through disciplinary sanctions
This can be summed up as competence, knowledge and ethical behaviour and we would encourage you to look out for these qualities in your dealings with any insurance and financial planning professionals.
So what’s in a status?
The Chartered status is important in that it denotes a certain level of competence and professionalism and recognises individuals’ qualifications. You as a client can be assured of a certain level of competence and professionalism. Individuals will either hold the Advanced Diploma in Insurance, Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning or the Fellowship of CII or PFS (FPFS), together with five years’ relevant experience. When you’re looking at all those website Meet the Team pages, you’ll know what all those initials stand for now! Given the amount of hard work that goes into obtaining Chartered status, both individuals and firms are understandably proud of the accolade, which is seen as the gold standard of the industry. They are able to depict the Chartered logo on their website and marketing material so do keep an eye out for it.