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Standing tall together – Steve Martin, CEO of Smart Financial Planning and CISI member

“The purpose of the IFP was all about increasing the profile of financial planning and also about growing the profession for the benefit of consumers” says Martin. “Now, I fully appreciate that there has to be handover period following the merger, as the new team get to grips with things. I also realise that I’ve been one of those members voicing concerns about the merger from the day it was announced.

CISI Conference

“Because of this I really wanted to go to the first CISI annual conference in October with an open mind, to see for myself what was going on. To be honest, I’m not minded to go again. I was disappointed with the event overall, particularly in the quality of the programme, which to my mind didn’t include anything we haven’t seen before. For next year, I think it needs to be refreshed and revitalised, as to get people there you need really good content to attract them. We need to move on, to use the platform to generate new thinking and ideas. On the positive side, as always, the networking value was strong. The IFP community has always stepped up to share best practice and to “give something back” and this is always so valuable.

The future of financial planning

“I think that the financial planning profession needs to re-find its voice within the structure of this much larger organisation, and hopefully driven by the thrust of financial planning within it. In particular, when it comes to bringing in new financial planners, I have concerns. For me personally, titles are simply not important any more. I believe that it’s all about what we do as planners which sets us apart from other professionals. I’m looking for consistent communications about what CISI is doing. Firstly from the inside, to know how they are working on building the focus on financial planning and then externally, to capture new thinking ( and there is just so much exciting stuff going on out there) so there is a fresh approach to representing the profession and attracting the next generation of financial planners. At conference, we were told by the CISI that membership of the financial planning forum had fallen by just under 20% since the merger. Clearly that needs to change.  At branch meetings, it’s essential to get relevant subject matter on the programmes with sufficient focus on topics for financial planners. Without this I believe there is a real risk that the community might drift away, finding other communities in which to network and hear the challenging ideas that are needed to help drive business success and improve the client experience.”

This article is part of a 5 part series. Click here to view the other parts.

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