Habitual recommendation of aligned platforms must be “;justified”; under AXA’s accreditation test for its financial planning practices, which national compliance and advisory services manager, Simon Wallace, reports is attracting growing interest 18 months after its launch.

To achieve AXA Certified Quality Advice Practice (CQAP) status, practices are tested against 30 ‘elements’, or criteria, measuring standard of advice and fluency of business operations, such as fee structure, disclosure documentation and client review programs. High sales or revenue targets are not weighted heavily, but at least half of each practice’s staff must have Certified Financial Planner accreditation. If justified, recommendation of in-house platforms would not disqualify a practice from CQAP accreditation. “We look at ‘why’ – we go back to the question of why,” Wallace said. “Our advisors use Summit or they might use another platform. We don’t recognise or reward people for writing AXA or Summit.” Practices applying for CQAP status must complete a client survey within three months, and if an identified client complaint is not absolved the practice will be barred from CQAP accreditation for two years. AXA has hired Ernst & Young to independently audit each CQAP-accredited practice on an annual basis. “They picked 70 per cent of practices and have visited each, and spent days going through the elements,” Wallace said. Wallace said between 10 and 15 AXA financial planning practices had been accredited, with roughly the same number currently undergoing the process. In total, AXA oversees 400 financial planning practices. CQAP has been active for 18 months. Last week, AXA reported an increasing number of financial planning firms were pursuing CQAP accreditation.

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