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My New Role on the PFS's Expert Practitioner Panel

Posted by Anthony Villis, Managing Director

September always has the unmistakeable feel of a new term about it. It’s a time when we set new priorities and knuckle down to fresh challenges after the summer break. For me, one of my new responsibilities, and something I’m hugely excited about, will be to sit on the Personal Finance Society’s (PFS) Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel. I was delighted and honoured to be chosen as one of the inaugural members of this new panel of financial planners.

The timing couldn’t be better. There is a real buzz about the financial planning profession, and a quiet revolution of planning excellence is gathering pace.

The Vital Role of the Personal Finance Society

I’ll come on to the panel shortly but first a quick look at the PFS and why they’re so vital. They are the professional body for financial advisors in the UK and they exist to promote high standards across the financial advice community. In my post earlier this month I touched on the importance of the Chartered Financial Planner status for helping to build confidence in our sector. In climates like this, where the public can be suspicious of financial institutions, we need bodies like the PFS to help strengthen confidence in our profession.

The PFS is well qualified to do it. They have a long and commendable history of championing professionalism, promoting technical knowledge and establishing high levels of client service and ethical practice. This is great for our clients because it ensures they get the best service, as well as being good for us, the advisers, as it increases the public’s trust in us.

The PFS has just announced its new President for the 2017/18 term will be Sharon Sutton. Sharon is Managing Director of Thornton Associates Ltd, Chartered Financial Planners, based on the Isle of Man, where she was the island’s first Chartered Financial Planner. Sharon’s biography on the PFS website says she “believes in educating people to take control of their lives through financial planning so they can seek to achieve their dreams and don't run out of money”. I know Sharon personally, and I also know that we’re going to get on very well as that fits exactly with the philosophy of First Wealth. Sharon’s goals for her Presidency of the PFS are “to advance the practice and profession of financial planning to encourage our members and the wider personal finance profession to embrace the...tools and techniques that may help them and their clients achieve excellent outcomes.”

My Role on the Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel

One of the ways the PFS will achieve this is through the new Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel. The panel has been established to guide the PFS as it broadens its Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme to incorporate inspirational financial planning good practice. The first meeting took place earlier this month. As well as myself, the panel comprises another 11 members from the financial planning industry. Without wanting to sound immodest, new PFS President and Chair of the panel, Sharon Sutton, commented that it brings together “a distinguished and passionate group of individuals who are willing to share what they have learned for the benefit of the wider profession.”

Here is the full list of panel members:

  • Chair: Sharon Sutton, PFS President, Managing Director, Thornton Chartered Financial Planners
  • Vice Chair: Jane Hodges, Managing Director, Money Honey Financial Planning
  • Adrian Quick, Director, HarperLees
  • Anthony Villis, Managing Partner, First Wealth
  • Neil Bailey, Director, Fortitude Financial Planning
  • Damien Rylett, Managing Director, Brunel Capital Partners
  • Garry Hale, Managing Director, HK Wealth
  • Gemma Siddle, Director, Eldon Financial Planning
  • Julie Lord, Chief Executive, Magenta Financial Planning
  • Simon Thomas, Head of Policy, Regulatory and Compliance, Tenet Group Limited
  • Adam Carolan, Director, Xentum
  • Brendan O’Ciobhain, Managing Director, Phoenix Wealth Management

The PFS has established the panel to provide financial planning insight and guidance to the wider profession as part of a continued focus on consumer outcomes and business sustainability. Again, this is all great news for clients as it seeks to ensure they receive the best service from advisers who are themselves benefitting from guidance on best practice across the industry. Sharon added that, “PFS membership gives access to such fantastic resources, but the knowledge and experience within our membership is unique.” We on the panel will meet regularly to develop guidelines and amass insight on good practice to distribute and make available for PFS members. We’ll also be seeking to arrange a series of specialist CPD events and we’re working on a good practice guide by way of a practical resource for advisers.

A Foundation of Trust and Confidence

Helping people to take control of their finances, gain financial freedom and make their dreams a reality are the principles that First Wealth is built on. But before we can help them achieve this, we need to build a foundation of trust and confidence in the professionalism and ethical standards of financial planning. It’s a responsibility that falls to us all, as financial advisers, and extends right across our profession. As a member of the new Financial Planning Expert Practitioner Panel I’m hugely looking forward to taking on this responsibility in the new term ahead.

If you would like some guidance on your own financial planning, please do drop me a line or call me on 020 7467 2700.

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This document is Marketing Material for a retail audience and does not constitute advice or recommendations. Past performance is not a guide to future performance and may not be repeated. The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested

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