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IFA listing website hits back at Which? broker accreditation investigation

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  • 06/12/2017
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IFA listing website hits back at Which? broker accreditation investigation
Financial adviser listing website Vouched For has questioned the results of a Which? investigation examining qualification and accreditation claims made by brokers.

The site is also seeking to reach an agreement with accreditation bodies to publicly share the real qualifications of certified brokers.

In a wider investigation into financial adviser listings websites, Which? found seven out of 24 firms falsely claimed Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) accreditation, with four of these listed on Vouched For.

A Vouched For spokesperson said: “We have recently received details of the four Vouched For advisers referenced in the Which? article.

“We have found that of the two advisers the article cites as falsely claiming to be SOLLA accredited – one is in fact SOLLA accredited and the other never claimed to be. Also, of the two advisers that the article references as falsely claiming to be chartered, one is, the other one we are currently investigating.”

 

Ultimate solution

On broker qualifications, the Voucher For spokesperson added that a new verification process had been introduced and agreement with bodies were being sought.

“There is a huge amount of work that goes on at Vouched For to ensure that advisers are thoroughly checked and correctly represent their qualifications,” he said.

Vouched For now allows advisers to upload certificates of all their stated qualifications.

“Any qualifications that do not have a certificate attached will be deleted from the site after this week,” it added. The firm is also in discussions with accreditation bodies to make adviser qualifications publicly available to check online.

Unbiased qualifications

The Which? investigation also included Unbiased and the Money Advice Service and other financial advice qualifications.

It said that of 43 advice firms listed on Unbiased, 27 did not employ certified financial planners or have a single adviser with the relevant Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments (CISI) certification.

A further 72 firms claimed to have chartered financial planner status but 14 did not employ any advisers with the accreditation, according to Which?

Unbiased CEO and founder Karen Barrett said the site worked hard to improve the process for verifying adviser qualifications and was committed to resolving any inaccuracies that remained.

“Most of these are to be found in a small proportion of the basic profiles that advisers can open free of charge, and such errors are typically due to qualifications expiring and not being updated, rather than inaccurate information being entered,” she said.

“Providing accurate information to our customers is a key priority to us,” she added.

 

Mortgage Solutions contacted the Money Advice Service for its response but has not yet received a reply. Which? has also been approached for an update into its investigation findings.

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