Why become chartered in banking and finance

12 January, 2021Ouida Taaffe

Chartered status shows you’re well qualified, experienced and committed to the highest professional and ethical standards. And you may already be on the path to Chartered Associateship with us if you’re studying – or have studied – one of our professional or higher education qualifications. But why is chartered status important? And what does that mean for your banking or financial advice career?

Young Financial JournalistIn February 2009, a Treasury Select Committee gave four witnesses – heads of failed banks – the chance to give their side of the story on the 2008 banking crisis.

Nick Ainger MP asked each of them, “What banking qualifications have you got?”

He already knew the answer, of course. None of them had any formal banking qualifications. Did that matter? After all, they had lots of business experience.

Yes, it did.

Why banking qualifications matter

Ainger noted, “One of the recommendations that [the Treasury] made in the run on the Rock was that all senior staff of banks, chief executives, chairmen and so on, should have a banking qualification”.

More than ten years later, the industry has taken that recommendation to heart.

“We are seeing a lot of demand for chartered status – both from organisations and from individuals,” says Rob Thompson, LIBF’s Head of Banking Relationships. 

“Organisations are likely thinking about the reputational risk of having senior bankers without formal banking qualifications. Individuals want to protect their standing in their current role, or make themselves more marketable.”

How chartered status benefits finance professionals

When banks need to demonstrate that staff are qualified, being chartered in banking makes sense. But chartered status in any financial service brings benefits.

“There is a certain professional cachet that comes with being chartered,” says Adam Caga, Managing Director of RVW WealthCare, who is a chartered financial adviser.

“It shows that you have attained the highest qualifications you can within your sector. When you are talking to other professionals, such as solicitors and accountants, being chartered puts you on the same footing.”

And those who become chartered gain personally.

“For me, the big driving factor was personal development,” says Caga.

“I have never actually had a client who has asked me about my qualifications. When you are referred by a solicitor, for example, clients take your professionalism on trust.”

How to become chartered as a senior banker

LIBF is about to launch a new route to chartered status for senior bankers – those with ten or more years of professional experience. And it is not about sitting down to take an exam.

“The new approach requires the banker to write what is, effectively, a reflective piece of work demonstrating how their knowledge and experience meets the requirements of Level 6. That’s degree level,” says Thompson.

The chartered students have support from an individual tutor who provides guidance on what their reflective piece of work should focus on, discusses ideas and gives feedback. Getting to chartered is not easy, even for those with the right knowledge and experience.

“Chartered status is a gold standard that evidences professional knowledge, effort and commitment,” says Thompson.

Providing that evidence is more than making a list of career highlights.

“You do learn a lot by reaching the level required to be chartered,” says Caga. “Sometimes it’s about knowing what you don’t know.”

Chartered professionals also have to keep up the pace going forward.

“Those who become chartered are committing to life-long learning. To maintain their chartered status they have to undertake continuous professional development,” says Thompson.

He adds that chartered status can also be removed from anyone who does “anything untoward”.

So, those who become chartered in banking with LIBF shouldn’t find themselves facing awkward questions from Treasury Select Committees.

But what’s it like to go through the chartered process?

“Studying alongside a full-time job is always a balancing act,” says Caga. “I’m 38, with a wife and two kids and my own business. You just have to set aside the time. And you have to want to do it.”

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Find out how to become chartered with The London Institute of Banking & Finance