The PFS is focused on raising standards across the personal finance sector – and has created an opportunity for your firm to play its part too
During the past few years, the PFS has been approached by many firms asking how they can better align with the professional body, our standards and support our work at a corporate level.
That is why we have introduced Associate Firm membership.
Associate Firm membership is an opportunity to make a positive difference for the majority within the profession and help to change the easily tarnished public perceptions of the sector. It sits at the heart of our efforts to create a ‘united profession’ approach to building public trust – one that elevates the importance and value of financial wellbeing through financial planning and investment advice.
Associate Firm is different to the Corporate Chartered status granted by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which is achieved via criteria and dependent on 50% of advisers within the firm being Chartered. Corporate Chartered is not owned by one organisation and is not unique to one profession, which is why it resonates with the public. Corporate Chartered is a strategic commitment for firms and carries the weight of the Privy Council via the CII’s Royal Charter.
Associate Firm of the PFS on the other hand, is intended to galvanise the personal finance and mortgage sectors, as part of an increased focus on uniting the profession behind a code of professional ethics, cultural behaviours and good-practice sharing, to help change public outcomes and perceptions for the better.
Uniting through association is principally for regulated firms that want to show their alignment with, and adoption of, eight core principles while also helping to provide greater transparency for consumers and staff within the firm. Associate Firm is a voluntary commitment to the professional standards set by the PFS.
The eight principles are:
- Act in the best interests of clients, using a customer charter to aid transparency.
- Demonstrate integrity, probity and fairness by aligning with the code of professional ethics and conduct.
- Comply with the spirit as well as the rules of regulation.
- Comply with the spirit as well as the rules of employment law.
- Invest in your people by funding a policy of ongoing training and professional development.
- Operate a clear diversity and inclusion policy, for both your staff and clients.
- Operate a policy of corporate social responsibility.
- Adhere to transparent governance standards and processes.
Visit our website at www.thepfs.org/associatefirm where you can download our Stronger Together leaflet, an at-a-glance summary of Associate Firm status and how it will benefit your business, as well as how to apply to become an Associate Firm.
Simon Webster is membership marketing manager of the PFS
Image credit | iStock
How to apply
How can firms apply for Associate Firm?
You can apply online via the PFS website. Associate Firm is an annually renewable commitment by firms.
Is there a fee for being an Associate Firm?
Yes, fees range from £250-£400 a year and have been kept low to reduce any barriers to firms that wish to align with our professional standards.
Can a sole trader apply for Associate Firm membership?
Yes, and doing so helps you demonstrate to current and future clients your commitment to the eight core principles for professional standards.