What does "Chartered" mean and why use the term?

You may have heard of financial firms and individuals being Chartered and wondered what it means. A Chartered professional, in any field, can be described as ‘someone who has gained a specific level of skill or competence in a particular field of work, recognised by the award of a formal credential from a professional body’. Chartered status therefore conveys a mark of professional competency and is awarded mainly by Chartered professional bodies and learned societies (who become Chartered by issue of a Royal Charter from the British monarch).

In the financial sphere one such Chartered body is the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) which gained its Charter in 1912, while another is the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments (CISI) which gained its Charter in 2009. The CII can award corporate Chartered status for firms and individual Chartered titles to those offering insurance services as well as financial planning (hence the term “Chartered Financial Planner”). The CISI awards Chartered status to its body of financial planners (“Chartered Wealth Manager”).

But why does attaining Chartered status matter? Each of the CII and CISI only grants the Chartered title to those who meet strict qualifying criteria. Chartered businesses and individuals must demonstrate:

  • the highest levels of technical and professional knowledge and competence through professional qualifications;
  • a commitment to keeping knowledge and skills up-to-date via continuing professional development; and
  • ethical conduct by adhering to a Code of Ethics enforced through disciplinary sanctions.

Any user of financial services should look for these qualities in his or her dealings with any insurance and financial planning professional.

Chartered status is important. Clients of a Chartered professional can be assured of a certain level of competence and professionalism reflected in the Charter-holder’s hard-earned qualifications and experience.

Financial planning professionals holding their Charter via the CII will hold either the CII’s Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning (designated by the letters “APFS”) or, and in addition, the CII’s next and highest level of qualification Fellowship of the Personal Finance Society (designated by the letters “FPFS”), together with five years’ relevant experience. A CII Charter holder will also be known as a “Chartered Financial Planner”.

A financial planning professional, holding their Charter via the CISI, will be known as a “Chartered Wealth Manager” holding the CISI’s Chartered Wealth Manager qualification or the Certified Financial Planner™ certification (designated by the letters “CFP™” or “Certified Financial Planner™”).

Given the amount of hard work that goes into obtaining Chartered status, individuals and firms are understandably proud of the accolade which is seen as the gold standard of the profession. Only those who are Chartered can depict the Chartered logo on their website and marketing material, so do keep an eye out for it when looking for your Chartered financial professional.

Meet our team of Advisers.

Mark Roe

Chartered Financial Planner