`Qualified advisers`

There is a lot of controversy in the offshore arena about qualifications in financial services. Some consumers who feel mis-sold or get bad advise speak about it, as do self-important firms who note that all their advisers are qualified, unlike `some` competitors.  What does unqualified actually mean?

In most situations, it implies that the adviser doesn’t have professional qualifications, such as the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) qualification.  There are good reasons why advisers should pursue such qualifications.  It does increase knowledge, and importantly for consumers, it gives the public reassurance that you are a trained individual who has been willing to pursue further study.  In countries which have made qualifications for advisers compulsory, such as Singapore and the UK, the esteem of the industry has gone up and cowboys are deterred from entering the industry.

Despite this, professional qualifications alone cannot be the only important thing. Qualified is a subjective matter.   Would most consumers prefer to give their money to a highly qualified young person than somebody who has had more experience in the field?   Would most people consider George Soros to be unqualified to give advise in Singapore, just because he doesn’t hold Singapore-specific financial qualifications?  Would most people consider a PHD in Finance less qualified than somebody who has only a Bachelors but holds basic professional qualifications?

Change needs to come to the offshore financial industry, but that change should be gradual, well-thought out and sensible.