Three quarters chartered? Just under half sounds more likely

Skandia has issued a press release which makes for pretty interesting reading but I don’t – quite – agree with the main conclusion – that as many as three quarters of financial advisers could soon be chartered.

The release says that while only 16 per cent of advisers are currently qualified to chartered status, 27 per cent are studying towards it, and 33 per cent are thinking about it. I think it will take a lot to translate those thinkers into doers. It does however set up an interesting situation where almost half of advisers will be chartered and another half will not.

Personally, I remain unconvinced about whether we really need to push higher, and certainly not by raising the compulsory minimum any time soon. I think the need to pass more exams plus gap fill and hold a statement of professional standing is a pretty tough regime.

Of course, an almost fully chartered industry would be better for the individual advisers, it would be better for clients especially those with complex advice problems but there is a risk it could also push up the price quite significantly as those advisers may well seek to be paid more. That applies even were chartered to become some new sort of entry level.

What is also interesting of course will be the fact there will be a clear divide. Previously the vast majority of advisers were at or near the minimum.That will not be the case now so peer pressure may be a factor so it might get closer to Skandia’s estimate.

As for the hoards of new restricted advisers – oh look – there aren’t that many. Eighty-three per cent say they will definitely stay wedded to IFA status. For providers and platforms working out how much resource to devote to their restricted strategy, it may give pause for thought.

Finally, I may not quite agree with the conclusions, but there is one very good thing about the research. It’s from nearly 500 advisers so most likely it represents a reasonable summing up of the situation out there in the market. Far too many surveys get published these days with very small samples. I doubt they would ever have got into the printed press in the past but the internet has an infinite appetite for copy. But with nearly 500 responses, this survey is probably a very good guide.