A Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning is a fresh new qualification made possible by UCD in concurrence with the Life Insurance Association, the Institute of Bankers and the Institute of Taxation. The examinations are set by the Financial Planning Standards Board in the US and the certification is available to those wishing to become truly professional financial advisors.
To those looking for professional help to manage their funds, a certified financial planner (CFP) provides a signal of credibility. A CFP has undergone the training necessary and studied the different aspects of financial planning by attending mandatory classes. They are licensed and regulated. The certification is proof that the individual has attained a certain level of competency.
Another indicator of the financial planner’s credibility is based on how he charges his clients. Many planners are commission-based and as such, their interests lie in pushing financial products from which they generate money. They don’t necessarily act in the best interest of the client. Other planners are fee-based and since their only source of income is the client, they are more inclined to serve the client’s interests better than a commission-based planner. The only problem here is since they usually charge 1% of the annual assets they manage as the fee, they may not be inclined to let the client liquidate investments as the fee would shrink. In this situation, the client has to be the final decision maker and act in their own best interest. Lastly, the planners charging by the hour, like lawyers, may be the best fit for people whose needs are simple. Normally, planners charging by the hour are just starting out. Since they need the client’s recommendations to friends and family to grow the business, they take a greater personal interest in the client.
The Financial Services Authority in the UK is all set to ban commission-based payments by January 2013 for the selling of financial products. This is being done with good reason too, because almost all financial scandals have been the product of commission-based sales. This includes the wrongful sale of everything from endowment mortgages, whole life assurance products and services and a majority of the property investments in the boom years.
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