The UK's Personal Finance Society (PFS) has announced an increase in professional membership for the seventh consecutive year rising from 37,732 at the end of 2017 to 38,635 individuals at the end of the 2018.
The PFS, which has published its reports and accounts for the year ending December 2018 at its annual general meeting in London, earlier today added that more than '23,800 Statements of Professional Standing' certificates were issued in the same period, despite a widely-reported decrease in financial adviser numbers in the UK, during the same period.
Keith Richards, pictured below left, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, called the continuing evolution of both the profession and the PFS during 2018 and the growth in membership, and attendees at professional development events a "testament to a more vibrant and confident professional sector".
"While, as a nation, we continue to face a backdrop of uncertain economic issues including Brexit, renewed economic slowdown, market volatility, government reforms and political chaos, the value and need for financial planning is becoming all the more acknowledged," said Richards.
"Demand for professional advice has never been more evident, especially against the background of pension freedoms, increased national longevity and a prolonged period of low interest rates for investors.
Richards pointed to the uptake of the PFS 'Pension Transfer Gold Standard' for consumers, aligned to an advice ‘good practice' code has seen more than 1,200 firms sign-up following a cross-sector collaboration which included financial advisers, PI insurers, consumer bodies, pension providers and scheme trustees, "working together with a common objective to deliver better consumer outcomes and ultimately address some of the concerns highlighted by the British Steel review and a small minority who risk impacting the reputation of the majority".
"Membership of the PFS, and Chartered status in particular, remains a clear indicator of professionalism and commitment to enhancing the visibility and value of a trustworthy profession that can evidence and deliver the best financial planning solutions for their clients," he added.
"The PFS will continue to evolve its own role and purpose as a modern relevant and inclusive professional body for the benefit of members and the wider public we serve. Engagement with regulator's, government and PI insurers will remain a core focus of our role on issues affecting members and their clients."