Leading the Way to Professional Excellence
31st May 2018
We’ve always been proud of the individuals at Brunel and Pilgrim and their academic achievements (whether that is achieving Chartered Status, Financial Planning and Paraplanning Diplomas or learning Spanish) but we’re now proud to announce that as a collective, we’re TWO of the few firms in the country to achieve Chartered Status. That’s both Brunel and Pilgrim.
In this section we look a little further at what this means, discuss our recent Cyberplus Accreditation (and how this safeguards you) and our Managing Director Damien talks about his new role on the Personal Finance Society’s Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel, as a leading expert to help improve the Financial Planning Industry.
Chartered status is an exclusive title only awarded to firms which meet rigorous criteria relating to professionalism and capability. The award is granted by the Chartered Insurance Institute the professional body for insurance and financial planning. To achieve this status we were required to demonstrate a commitment to developing knowledge, enhancing capability and maintaining ethical standards. This provides all our clients with the reassurance that we are operate in an ethical manner, put our clients interest first and provide high quality advice based solely on our clients’ researched needs.
To date, fewer than 700 firms have achieved Chartered status which indicates that this is a highly coveted award reserved for the leading firms within the financial advice market.
We will be working hard to maintain these standards and providing a commitment to customer service and professionalism.
As a firm we have also recently achieved Cyber Essentials accreditation. Cyber Essentials aims to help organisations implement good levels of protection against cyber-attacks. In addition we have undertaken further assessment with IASME to demonstrate that we have taken into account the requirements of the General Data protection regulation (GDPR).
The IASME Governance standard, based on international best practice, is risk-based and includes aspects such as physical security, staff awareness, and data backup. The IASME standard was recently recognised as the best cyber security standard for small companies by the UK Government.
IASME is one of just five companies appointed as Accreditation Bodies for assessing and certifying against the Government’s Cyber Essentials Scheme. The Scheme focuses on the five most important technical security controls. These controls were identified by the government as those that, if they had been in place, would have stopped the majority of the successful cyber attacks over the last few years.
We take our client’s cyber security seriously and would urge you to look for this accreditation with other organisations you may deal with online!
Damien’s New Role on the Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel
As an organisation we are always looking for new challenges, especially in areas where we can make a difference. One of my new responsibilities, and something I’m hugely excited about, will be to sit on the Personal Finance Society’s (PFS) Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel. I was delighted and honoured to be chosen as one of the inaugural members of this new panel of financial planners.
The timing couldn’t be better. There is a real buzz about the financial planning profession, and a quiet revolution of planning excellence is gathering pace.
The Vital Role of the Personal Finance Society
I’ll come on to the panel shortly but first a quick look at the PFS and why they’re so vital. They are the professional body for financial advisors in the UK and they exist to promote high standards across the financial advice community. In climates like this, where the public can be suspicious of financial institutions, we need bodies like the PFS to help strengthen confidence in our profession.
The PFS is well qualified to do it. They have a long and commendable history of championing professionalism, promoting technical knowledge and establishing high levels of client service and ethical practice.
The PFS has recently announced its new President will be Sharon Sutton. Sharon is Managing Director of Thornton Associates Ltd, Chartered Financial Planners, based on the Isle of Man, where she was the island’s first Chartered Financial Planner. Sharon’s biography on the PFS website says she “believes in educating people to take control of their lives through financial planning so they can seek to achieve their dreams and don't run out of money”. I know Sharon personally, and I also know that we’re going to get on very well as that fits exactly with the philosophy of Brunel and Pilgrim.
My Role on the Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel
One of the ways the PFS will achieve this is through the new Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel. The panel has been established to guide the PFS as it broadens its Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme to incorporate inspirational financial planning good practice. The first meeting took place earlier this month. As well as myself, the panel comprises another 11 members from the financial planning industry. Without wanting to sound immodest, Sharon Sutton commented that it brings together “a distinguished and passionate group of individuals who are willing to share what they have learned for the benefit of the wider profession.”
The PFS has established the panel to provide financial planning insight and guidance to the wider profession as part of a continued focus on consumer outcomes and business sustainability. This is great news for clients as it seeks to ensure they receive the best service from advisers who are themselves benefitting from guidance on best practice across the industry. We on the panel will meet regularly to develop guidelines and amass insight on good practice to distribute and make available for PFS members. We’ll also be seeking to arrange a series of specialist events and we’re working on a good practice guide resource for advisers.
A Foundation of Trust and Confidence
Helping people to take control of their finances, gain financial freedom and make their dreams a reality are the principles that Brunel and Pilgrim are built on. But before we can help people achieve this, we need to build a foundation of trust and confidence in the professionalism and ethical standards of financial planning. It’s a responsibility that falls to us all, as financial advisers, and extends right across our profession. As a member of the new Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel I’m hugely looking forward to taking on this responsibility in the new term ahead.
If you know someone that would like some guidance on their financial planning, please do drop me a line or call me on 0117 214 0870.