CISI: Advisers falsely claiming certification ‘could face legal action’

Financial advisers who claim to be certified financial planners accredited by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment “risk being taken to court” and expelled from the organisation, CISI warned today.

The London-headquartered, globally-focused professional body said it was making this announcement in response to a new report on financial advisers carried out by  Which?, the UK’s non-profit Consumers’ Association, which cited cases in which financial advisers were publishing false credentials in online, paid-for listings services.

CISI global head of business development and chartered FCSI Kevin Moore said that the organisation would “immediately” investigate if it hears of “any advisers falsely claiming to hold the Certified Financial Planner designation, or any of our designations”.

“If subsequently we discover the adviser is fraudulently misrepresenting themselves, we will take disciplinary or legal action against that individual, and this could result in that individual losing their membership of the CISI,” he added.

“We would like to remind all CISI members and CFP professionals that they are personally responsible for updating all details relevant to their CISI membership, CFP designation or AFPF [Accredited Financial Planning Firm] status listing on commercial listings websites which they themselves may have paid for and signed up to.

“All CISI members have to comply with the CISI Code of Conduct, which requires members to uphold the highest personal and professional standards at all times, and act with integrity while seeking to avoid any acts, omissions or business practices which damage the reputation of their organisation or the financial services industry.”

He added that UK consumers wishing to find out whether their financial planner is a certified professional are able to do so by visiting the so-called CISI Wayfinder listing, which shows those CISI firms that have been awarded AFPF status, as well as those financial planners holding the CFP license.

Those interested in finding out about CISI-certified firms and individuals, meanwhile, are able, he said, to do so “via our member directory”.

CISI is urging anyone interested in reporting individuals who may be mis-using either the CFP or CISI designations to do so by emailing principles@cisi.org, and “providing details of the individual in question”.

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