The Federation of European Independent Financial Advisers

Qualifications & Regulation – Are your life savings in safe hands?

The number of stories around the Costa del Sol about people being conned out of their savings and pensions is enough to put anyone off investing for life. The UK has a high standard of required qualifications to be a Financial Adviser, which leads us to assume that an adviser in Spain will be as equally qualified. This is NOT the case and actually, a lot of ‘advisers’ outside of the UK may not have any qualifications.

What does a regulated business mean?

Regulations main priority is to protect consumers from corruption and unethical practice. It provides a business with a set of guidelines to follow and meet called regulatory requirements which are reviewed and changed regularly. It also provides consumers with a Financial Services Ombudsman to follow through with any complaints that aren’t being dealt with by the business.

What does it mean if a business is NOT regulated?

If a business is not regulated it means that it won’t have any guidelines it has to meet. In layman’s terms, it can do what it wants without repercussions. There is no Ombudsman for complaints, advisers don’t have minimum qualification requirements to meet to enable them to trade and there is no corruption protection for consumers. Each regulated business should be able to supply you with a link to their regulators website where they will be listed as a regulated entity.

Licenced Businesses

A business can also hold a licence instead of regulation, for example in Cyprus. This is often confused by clients as regulation, when in fact a licence is very minimal regulation. A licence provides minimal guidelines to follow, but the advisers DO NOT have to be qualified in any way to give advice. Often misinterpreted by clients, it’s important to be aware of the difference as the adviser providing you with financial advice may not actually have any experience or hold any qualifications in financial services.

Qualifications

The UK has a high standard of required qualifications to be a Financial Adviser (currently a Diploma in Financial Planning). The regulatory body for each jurisdiction will set the guidelines for minimum qualifications, which is another good reason to check if your business is regulated. Unregulated and licenced firms and advisers often do not have to be qualified to trade. Always check with the person you are speaking to what experience and qualifications they have and how they compare to UK requirements to ensure you are receiving qualified and experienced advice.

Speed Financial Solutions’ qualifications and regulation

Speed Financial Solutions are a regulated and highly qualified financial services provider based on the Costa del Sol which was set up eight years ago by Andrea Speed, Principal, as she was keen to provide expats with ethical and professional financial advice.

Andrea Speed is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) which is the professional body for the financial planning community. The PFS is part of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which is the world’s largest professional body for insurance and financial services in the world.

Fellowship is the highest qualification awarded by the CII and is universally regarded as the premier qualification. It is a major achievement in the financial industry and demonstrates the acquisition of skills and knowledge at the highest of levels.

Along with a Fellowship, Andrea is a CII Chartered Financial Planner with specialist qualifications in Taxation, Trusts and Investment Management and over 30 years experience in the industry.

We take regulation very seriously and to that end all of our Financial Advisers are members of Nexus Global (IFA Network). Nexus Global is a division of Blacktower Financial Management (International) Ltd (BFMI). BFMI is licensed and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (FSC) and bound by the rules under licence number FSC00805B. Confirmation of our regulation can be obtained at:

http://www.fsc.gi/regulated-entity/blacktower-financial-management-international-limited-3647

As a matter of good business practice and in line with the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission requirements, all our Advisers are subject to satisfactory references, proof of financial services qualifications and sign off as a competent Adviser. It is a basic requirement for our company that any Adviser is qualified to an acceptable standard within the field of International Financial Planning.

As part of our normal training procedures, all our Advisers undertake Continuous Professional Development (CPD) on an ongoing basis. We believe that it is important for Financial Advisers to ensure that their skills and knowledge are up to date. Our view is that the undertaking of CPD is particularly important in today’s fast moving financial world as the criteria used for achieving qualifications may no longer be relevant. CPD includes ‘formal’ activities, e.g. courses, conferences and workshops, as well as self-study and technical reading. Our Advisers training records are available for your perusal should you require.

​​​​​​​​​The above article was kindly provided by Danielle Speed from Speed Financial Solutions and originally posted at: ​​​​​​​​​​​http://www.speedfinancialsolutions.com/qualifications-regulation-life-savings-safe-hands/