“The FSA’s proposal to implement an internal professional standards model needs to ensure that IFA qualifications are presented in a way that is easy to understand for consumers. We know that abbreviations and numbers mean very little to the consumer. As a result, we have worked with the FSSC to simplify the way IFA qualifications are presented on our Find an IFA search. We categorise qualifications into level A and B qualifications – where A is equivalent to an A level standard and B is equivalent to the components of a degree – and allow the consumer to select qualifications by product area. The best interests of the consumer needs to be applied across any consumer facing work the FSA is doing when increasing the standards of professionalism in the IFA industry.
“Over the last few years the IFA industry has seen a drive to professionalism on the back of increasing consumer demand. Over a third of consumers using our search are now searching for IFAs that hold incremental qualifications.
“The almost 16,000 registered individuals on our database now hold between them 15,244 QCF level 4 or above qualifications. This is the highest level of QCF 4 qualifications ever held by the IFAs on our database and clearly highlights that the IFA market is on the right track to meet the new qualifications benchmark within the timescale set.”
For further information on Unbiased.co.uk, the professional advice website pleases contact:
Anna Schirmer/ Jennifer Comerford/ Anna Moulds, Lansons Communications, 020 7294 3682
For expert commentary or case studies from over 200 media-friendly IFAs, journalists should visit www.unbiased.co.uk/bluebook to search the Blue Book Media IFA database.
Top tips for journalists when using Blue Book online:
1. List and store all your IFA contacts in one place. As well as having access to the whole Media IFA database on the Blue Book, you can also separately list your favourite Media IFAs. You can add confidential, personalised post-it notes with extra details to Media IFA profiles. These will be saved and always appear every time you log back into your account.
2. Email broadcast Media IFAs. The Blue Book allows you to email individual favourite Media IFAs for personal commentary or alternatively email a group of your favourite Media IFAs for a collection of opinions on a topic. You can use the Blue Book online to conduct a straw poll on a specific topic for instance.
3. Online coverage generated by Media IFAs. Each Media IFA profile contains links to their most recent online coverage. This allows you to see what topic Media IFAs have been commenting on recently, allowing you to make a more informed decision as to which Media IFA you wish to speak to.
4. Each Media IFA has a star rating. This is calculated by how many journalist’s favourites lists each Media IFA appears on. The more journalist’s favourites lists they appear on, the higher their star rating. Look at the ‘top rated’ list to find out which Media IFA has the highest star rating.
5. Journalist recommendations. The Blue Book gives helpful suggestions as to which Media IFAs other journalists have on their list of favourites. Each Media IFA profile has suggestions as to other Media IFAs you may find useful.
6. Broaden out your contact list of Media IFAs. Overall, the Blue Book online is designed to help you widen the pool of Media IFAs you can contact for commentary or help with articles you are writing. Sign up to the Blue Book now in order to take advantage of all these features.
Notes to Editors
Unbiased.co.uk, the professional advice website
Unbiased.co.uk is the free and confidential UK-wide search service matching consumers with the most appropriate local professional advisers for their needs. In 2008, Unbiased.co.uk fulfilled over half a million searches for local, professional advice.
The portal currently houses three professional advice searches: ‘find an IFA’, ‘find a mortgage adviser’, and ‘find a solicitor’, and is inviting accountants to sign up for its ‘find an accountant’ service. These searches enable consumers to find relevant professional advisers by postcode, area of specialism and payment method, amongst other options.
IFA Promotion, the organisation behind Unbiased.co.uk, is now in its 20th year, and was set up to promote the benefits of independent financial advice to the consumer.
Unbiased.co.uk’s product provider sponsors
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