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Chartered Insurance Institute
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Corporate Chartered FAQs


The CII has recently completed a review of corporate Chartered status, which has seen a number of enhancements being introduced to help raise standards, promote professionalism and deliver better outcomes for consumers.

You will find review related FAQs appear first, followed by more general questions. 

If you have a question that isn't covered by Chartered review documentation or questions below please contact charteredfirm@cii.co.uk.



Q1. Why have you undertaken this review?
A: Corporate Chartered status was introduced to acknowledge organisational wide commitment to professional and ethical practice and to spearhead the drive to continually improve standards. It is subject to regular review and, as and when appropriate, it is enhanced. The last review was undertaken in 2009, so it was time to take a fresh look to see how corporate Chartered status could be improved and developed to promote professionalism and deliver better outcomes for consumers.


Q2. How was the review of the corporate Chartered scheme undertaken?
A: All existing Chartered organisations were invited to complete a survey on the scheme and to make suggestions on what enhancements should be made. This was supplemented by one-to-one discussions with a representative cross-section of Chartered organisations and with wider industry consultation, including:
• discipline/sector specific Faculty Groups (insurance broking, underwriting, claims, London Market)
• the CII's Professional Standards Board, and
• the CII and Personal Finance Society Boards.

The feedback was collated and used to prepare a series of recommendations which again were consulted on, prior to being presented to the CII Board for approval.

   
Q3. What changes are being introduced?
A: The review has resulted in a number of enhancements to the Chartered scheme. These are designed to help raise standards, promote professionalism and deliver better outcomes for consumers.

They include:
• increased oversight, including a contract that will formalise rights and obligations;
• additional audit procedures, to determine compliance and support best practice;
• alignment of rules with regulatory requirements based on competence, conduct and culture; 
• enhanced qualification criteria providing greater access to individually qualified Chartered advisers;
• a requirement that all staff be included in an organisation's professional development programme; and
• where a specialist division, as opposed to an entire organisation, is Chartered, there will be a requirement for a nominated statutory board member to act as a Sponsor to ensure the Board is aware of and oversees compliance with the responsibilities of holding the Chartered title.

Details of the changes are contained in these "Overview of enhancements" documents:
•  Chartered Insurance Brokers/Insurers
• Chartered Financial Planners.


Q4. When do the changes go live?
A: Most of the changes are effective from 1 July 2015 (or the first renewal date thereafter) unless indicated otherwise.

The exception to this are the changes to the Chartered Financial Planners qualification eligibility criteria, which take effect on the following dates:
• from 1 July 2017 (or at first renewal thereafter), a minimum of 25% of your organisation's advisers must personally hold the CII 'Chartered Financial Planner' title; and
• from 1 January 2020 (or at first renewal thereafter), this requirement will increase to 50%.

  
Q5. Why has a formalised corporate Chartered contract been introduced?

A: Corporate Chartered status was launched in 2007. Since then, the rules, requirements and obligations have naturally developed to reflect market changes and overall aspirations for the scheme.

It has become clear that all parties would benefit from having a formalised contract. Consequently, the contract (comprising Guidance, Terms & Conditions and supporting Rules) essentially codifies the existing requirements and standards, with updates and additions included where these will improve clarity, reinforce the intended requirements of the scheme and comply with changes in legislation.

All existing Chartered organisations were written to in advance of the contract being introduced so they could familiarise themselves with this.
 
   
Q6. Are organisations to be audited/inspected by the CII?
A: Yes. As part of our monitoring and disciplinary procedures, the CII will be auditing 10% of Chartered organisations annually from 2016.

By applying for corporate Chartered status, an organisation (and its staff) commits to achieving compliance with the stated requirements now and at each subsequent renewal. To ensure compliance with the scheme criteria, the CII retains the right to validate any declarations made. This can include, but is not limited to, requests for additional supporting documentary evidence and personal visits to an organisation's premises. Personal visits/telephone interviews may be undertaken on the organisation's initial application, at any subsequent renewal or at any time between renewals, at the discretion of the CII.

If an organisation is found not to comply with the specified requirements of corporate Chartered status, it may be refused the award or an existing award may be withdrawn. The CII liaises with other organisations such as the regulator, both within the UK and overseas, to monitor the activity of Chartered organisations to ensure the scheme rules are not being contravened.

The CII will monitor any complaints received directly from the public or any actions which are likely to constitute grounds for non-compliance, such as action taken by the FCA or other regulator.


Q7. What is the purpose of the CCS audit? 
A: The audit has two purposes. The first is so that a picture of good practice can be ascertained and shared amongst other CCS Entities. The second is to give such guidance as may be necessary and ensure that CCS Entities understand their obligations and are maintaining their eligibility. 

  
Q8. Is there more to Chartered status than simply using the title?
A: Absolutely. Chartered status - which flows from a Royal Charter - involves a number of serious obligations. Chartered titles are jealously guarded by all professional bodies and are not awarded lightly. The title is not simply recognition for staff having passed examinations or for paying an annual fee, and it reflects objective professional standards, not standards chosen by any one professional body.

A Chartered title is a public declaration that advice given by an organisation is:
• of the highest quality;
• based solely on the researched needs of the consumer;
• provided by someone not exceeding their level of competency.

It also signifies that an organisation's staff, where members of the CII/PFS, are governed by a Code of Ethics, and that disciplinary sanctions are applied to those who transgress. A Chartered title is therefore an overall commitment to excellence and professionalism.

  
Q9. In the documentation for corporate Chartered status the CII refers to 'professionalism' and 'professional organisations'. What does it mean by these terms?
A: What constitutes professionalism, both for an individual and for an organisation? This is a question we are increasingly being asked and is a matter on which understanding is essential if we are to ensure that our professionalism is securely rooted and able to flourish.

The CII has analysed how other professions (such as accountancy and the law) define and express professionalism. Where appropriate, we have incorporated these views into our own approach, enabling us to assemble a list of characteristics that articulate professionalism in insurance broking and financial planning.

It should be noted that, while the CII is a professional body that monitors and, where necessary, disciplines its members (the CII can and does publicise the withdrawal of Chartered titles from members), we do not police or regulate all the areas mentioned below. In some instances, these are the responsibility of the FCA, PRA or other bodies. But we believe that all professionals should comply with these requirements, irrespective of how they are governed.

Individual
• Members offer professional judgment, objective advice and act in the interests of the client
• Members observe a code of conduct or practice that describes the desired standards of behaviour
• High entry standards in the form of examinations that are not easy to pass and require an initial lengthy period of study
• The requirement to maintain a high degree of competence and expertise involving continuing professional development
• Effective regulation in the form of an independent body, the CII, responsible for setting disciplinary procedures and monitoring behaviour
• Members are subject to an objective form of censure and are accountable to the profession for any breach of expected technical and ethical standards
• The nature of censure is sufficiently punitive to encourage members to maintain standards in line with requirements. This typically includes details of disciplinary action being publicly communicated and potentially barring from membership.

Corporate
• A management with the experience and expertise to ensure the business model is sustainable and to implement the model effectively
• Corporate governance and systems that exert appropriate levels of control over the running of the business including risk management, maintaining adequate capital, record-keeping, training and competency programmes
• A culture that encourages the fair treatment of customers
• Encouragement of professional standards for employees through support for technical training and the development and encouragement of appropriate behaviour.

  
Q10. Can corporate Chartered status be awarded to a network?
A: No. A network is a collection of individual organisations and each individual organisation must apply in its own right.

  
Q11. How do I decide which of my staff should be included within the requirement that 90% of customer-facing staff should be CII members?
A: Ideally the CII would require 100% of customer-facing staff to be members however the 90% rule is a practical guide on membership requirements. By requiring, as a minimum, only 90% of customer-facing staff to be members, organisations are able to exclude staff whose customer-facing activities are peripheral to the organisation's business activities. It also provides a degree of protection in respect of natural fluctuations in staff numbers, which could otherwise lead to a contravention of the membership requirement.

For guidance, all staff acting in an advisory capacity need to be members. Beyond this, any member of staff that has customer contact should be included. Further information can be found in the guidance notes produced for each Chartered title - see www.cii.co.uk/CCSreview  for details.


Q12. If 90% of customer-facing staff have to be members of the CII is this not simply a way for the CII to get more members and increase its revenue?
A: Not at all. This is about ensuring a common standard across the market which can be relied upon by anyone who transacts with an organisation holding the title. All CII/PFS members are required to comply with a Code of Ethics, reinforcing ethical practice, which is a key element of the Chartered concept.


Q13. What are the definitions of an executive and non-executive director?
A: If directors run the company on a day-to-day basis and employees are accustomed to act in accordance with their instructions, they are deemed to be executive directors. In the case of a limited liability company, all the directors are executive unless they have been appointed in a non-executive capacity.

Non-executive directors have no operational role and do not make decisions on a day to day basis. Their role is to offer a different perspective to the Board and to make a creative contribution to the Board by providing objective criticism. Non-executive directors are appointed to that position (they will have a letter of appointment designating them as such).


Q14. Do the requirements relating to directors/appropriate management team/partners include retired or 'silent' partners?
A: All directors/appropriate management team/ partners need to meet all the requirements regardless of whether they are retired or 'silent' partners. In UK law, all directors are legally liable and collectively responsible for Board decisions and for this reason we require then to adhere to the CII/PFS Code of Ethics through virtue of their membership.

  
Q15. Are self-employed consultants included in the membership requirement?
A: All advisers registered to the organisation (including self employed and contracted advisers) are required to be members (and, hence, signed up to the CII/PFS Code of Ethics) and beyond that, any member of staff that has customer contact should be included.

  
Q16. I have a number of part time staff, do they all have to become members?
A: Yes, if they are customer-facing.


Q17. Not every employee in an organisation has to be Chartered in their own right. Is this not misleading to the consumer?
A: All professional organisations operate with a variety of disciplines and with staff at various levels of experience. A Chartered accountancy firm, for example, may have accounting technicians, part-qualified accountants and fully-qualified chartered accountants. Each individual is assigned work within their level of competence and is supervised by a fully qualified accountant.

The same applies for Chartered insurance broking and Chartered financial planning organisations. The CII/PFS Code of Ethics and Chartered rules require that individuals only operate within their levels of expertise and that the organisation is overseen by a Board/appropriate management team/partnership which in most instances has 50% of its members qualified to Chartered level). Further, one of the directors or equivalent is a designated 'Responsible Member', part of whose responsibilities is to ensure the CII/PFS Code of Ethics and Chartered rules are adhered to by all staff members.

Our rules are consistent with those of other professional bodies.

  
Q18. Is there a minimum number of directors/appropriate management team member/partners that an organisation must have?
A: No, but at least one director, appropriate management team member or partner must hold the CII Chartered title for which corporate status is requested. That director or partner must be the Responsible Member.

  
Q19. Can executive directors/appropriate management team members/partners use other professional qualifications to qualify. If so, what qualifications are acceptable?
A: The CII will recognise Chartered titles from other awarding bodies as being comparable to the CII's individual Chartered title, providing: the title held is directly relevant to the individual's principal area of work; and the awarding Chartered body concerned has a Code of Ethics comparable to that of the CII.

Directly relevant to the individual's principal area of work means, for example, that an organisation's accountant who is a Chartered Accountant may be counted towards the discretionary individual Chartered requirement (provided that the accountant is only acting in this capacity [accountant] for the company and does not advise clients, either as a broker in an organisation of Chartered Insurance Brokers or as a Financial Planner in an organisation of Chartered Financial Planners).

A listing of the Chartered titles which the CII will automatically recognise as equivalent can be found at Comparable Third Party Titles. Other organisations will be considered on application.


Q20. Can a single organisation hold more than one corporate Chartered title?
A: In accordance with the Bye-laws of the CII, it is only permissible for a company or partnership to describe itself using the plural of a single chartered title.

  
Q21. Is there a Charter logo for organisations to use on their marketing material?
A: Yes. There is both a logo and a form of words that can be used on company stationery, company signage, web, etc. Please see Instructions for using the Chartered logo for further guidance.

In addition, organisations can use their corporate Chartered status in a variety of ways to reinforce their credentials and demonstrate their commitment to providing customers with a professional service. These range from including details in client proposals through to issuing a press release to issuing a communication to existing customers. A guide to maximising the benefits of being Chartered is issued to each organisation when it attains Chartered status. Click here to view this.
 
   
Q22. How does the CII handle consumer complaints against a Chartered organisation? What redress does the CII provide to the consumer if a complaint against a Chartered organisation or member is upheld?
A: As the CII is not a regulator of organisations or individuals, consumer complaints regarding, for example, policy coverage or the performance of an investment product, will be dealt with by the existing complaints mechanisms run by the FCA or Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

In every case of complaint, however, the complainant must contact the organisation concerned in the first instance. If a complaint concerns an individual member's behaviour, any breach of the CII/PFS Code of Ethics will be dealt with by reference to the CII's Disciplinary Procedures (see Guide to Complaints against members)


Q23. What happens if one of my staff is subject to disciplinary proceedings of the CII or other professional, statutory or regulatory body?
A In the case of CII disciplinary action, they will be notified by us. It is important that they take this seriously and respond to CII's enquiries promptly, honestly and in full.

You should be aware that a CII Case Examiner or Disciplinary Panel has a variety of sanctions available which can withdraw individual Chartered status or membership and recommend to the CII the withdrawal of corporate Chartered status, where the circumstances warrant this action.

Where another professional, statutory or regulatory body applies sanctions to an individual member of staff, full details (including the nature of the offence committed and details of the sanction applied) must be notified to the CII immediately. The CII will then consider whether the offence prejudices your organisation's licence to use the corporate Chartered title and whether CII disciplinary action against that individual is required.


Q24. What do I do if my organisation ceases to meet the stated eligibility criteria?
A: You must notify us immediately should you cease to meet the eligibility criteria on which you applied. In turn, we will agree a realistic timescale for you to return to compliance with the rules. If you do not achieve compliance within that timescale, your licence to use corporate Chartered status may be withdrawn and corresponding use of the title must cease immediately.


Q25. What are the costs?
A: There is a tiered fee structure based on headcount. The fees, which have been unchanged since 2007, have been kept at a level which reflects the costs to the CII in administering, monitoring and communicating the scheme. They also recognise the commitment made by organisations in supporting CII/PFS membership/qualifications to-date. The pricing model was developed in consultation with the industry through the CII's Professional Standards Board, faculties and societies.

  
Q26. What is the rationale behind the current pricing levels?
A: The pricing model was developed in consultation with the industry through the CII's Professional Standards Board, faculties and societies. The fees have been set to cover the administration, monitoring and communication costs associated with the scheme. The work includes verifying applicant's details, confirming eligibility, producing and issuing certificates and enforcing the scheme rules. There is also a wealth of supporting literature, a dedicated website and a "live" online directory.

  
Q27. Can organisations request additional certificates to display on their premises?
A: On initial application, organisations can request as many certificates as they require in order to display one certificate in each of their offices. If, subsequently, the organisation requires additional/replacement certificates, a fee of £10 per additional certificate will be charged.

  
Q28. What is the process for organisations that cease trading/wish to cancel their corporate Chartered status?
A:  Organisations who cease trading or wish to cancel their Chartered status should inform the CII immediately. They should also return all Chartered certificates to the CII as soon as possible.