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Youngest holder of ISO 22222 says will benefit family business

Family firm sees financial planners gaining the international standard ISO 22222 as a means to differentiate its proposition and attract new clients

Alex Slipaczek, financial planner and senior paraplanner at Filip Slipaczek Chartered Financial Planner Firm, has become the youngest current holder of the ISO22222 certification.

Alex, who is 27, has been working for the family firm since 2012, after achieving a Masters (Hons) in Finance at the University of Aberdeen, where he wrote his dissertation on wrap platforms.

The firm’s founder, Filip Slipaczek, has achieved the ISO certification six years in a row and it was a given, Slipaczek says, that he would follow in his father’s footsteps.

“It meant there would be two financial planners in the business which had achieved the certification. This is good for the profile of the business,” he says.

What ISO does is bring financial planning in line with other industries and professions, like accountancy, Slipaczek says “Having ISO means you have an international standard, which is recognised by the people who have gone through it as something that is not easy to achieve, and so raises you as a person and as a business within the eyes of potential clients.”

With more financial planners aiming at Level 6 qualifications, you need to find ways to differentiate yourself and your business, Slipaczek says. “You need to show there is something more about you.”

From a personal point of view, Slipaczek feels having ISO will not only increase his confidence when dealing with clients and their confidence in him and the business, “but it is more likely to be a standard clients recognise from their own experience, particularly if they are in business, more so than the financial planning qualifications,” he adds.

There are other benefits to achieving the ISO standard, he says. “When you are ISO certified there is a reduction in risk for the business, which is reflected in our PI cover.”

ISO assessment process

ISO is a personal certification that assesses the competency and capabilities of an individual as well as the processes they use within their role. There is a rolling three-year schedule, during which the assessor looks at a different part of the process every year.

Slipaczek explains the process he went through to attain the certification: “The assessor first goes through your firm’s processes. There are around 30 areas and items they look at overall, like the last 12 months new business register, data protection, PI cover, office insurance, consumer credit processes, business continuity, social media policy, conflicts of interest policy, company literature, terms of business, whether you have a locum agreement in place, any outsourcing process, and a selection of client files, on which they conduct a face-to-face interview.”

In many ways it’s like a compliance visit, he says, as the assessor will look at the business and its processes in relation to how they apply to the individual’s work as well as their competency. “You have to have all your key documentation ready for assessment and it helps you keep everything clear and relevant.”

On a person level Slipaczek says being the youngest to currently hold the certificate is a bonus, “but obviously I took ISO because it is a high standard, which shows your practical abilities and helps separate you from the crowd. It gives you an internationally recognised standard.

“I’d hope to see financial planners and paraplanners go on to achieve it. It proves your competencies, keeps your processes in line and because it’s a yearly assessment it means you can’t rest on your laurels, you’ve got to ensure you are up to the standard at all times,” he adds

Slipaczek’s younger brother Max, 23, the mortgage adviser with the firm, is also looking to achieve ISO 22222 in the near future, so could usurp Alex as the youngest holder of the certificate. “It’s healthy competition and all for the good of our family firm,” Slipaczek says.

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