A professional standard for the best financial planning firms
RQ Certified is an accreditation scheme for financial planning firms in the UK. It is a key element of the wider RQ professional collaboration ecosystem, but it's also an important standalone scheme that shines a light on the best financial planning firms.
The Certified process delves into the inner workings of a financial planning firm, covering its client proposition, the structure and governance underpinning the delivery of services and advice to clients, its trading and regulatory history, and financial soundness.
It is an objective, comprehensive assessment focused on helping consumers and other professionals, such as accountants and lawyers, understand the metrics that matter when choosing a financial planning firm to work with.
Simply put, RQ Certified represents the best financial planning firms in the UK.
More than a badge
Financial planning firms that successfully become RQ Certified are able to showcase their accreditation with the official RQ Certified badge, showing industry peers, insurers, collaborators, and consumers that they’ve passed the robust process. They also get a public profile and included in our Certified firms database.
In addition, RQ Certified firms are showcased on the RQ platform where the hallmark serves as an important due diligence tool for accountants, lawyers, and other professionals seeking great firms to collaborate with.
Why RQ Certified matters
You run, or work for, a great financial planning firm. You’re up there with the best in the business. But how do you communicate and evidence this to consumers, other professionals and PI insurers? More importantly, how do you make your firm’s quality really count and drive the growth of your business more effectively?
Planning firms can use other available certification processes, many of them very good, helpful and important, including, and in particular, that of the Accredited Financial Planning Firms. But these focus on specific elements of what makes firms and client outcomes better rather than considering all elements, as RQ does.
In addition, other processes lack the commercial cut-through: top-quality financial planning has the power to change lives, but do accountants and lawyers know how good you are, in absolute terms and relative to the alternatives out there? Do they understand why you’re better than many, if not most? Do they know what truly makes a good firm good?
That's why we've built RQ Certified.
Why RQ Certified matters for professional collaboration
Alongside RQ Monitoring, which aggregates essential data on all FCA-registered firms, enabling monitoring in realtime, RQ Certified provides a robust quality assurance standard that objectively, broadly and deeply evaluates firms.
In effect, RQ takes the due diligence strain for accountants and lawyers and helps them find great financial planning firm to work with, compliantly and confidently justify and evidence their decisions and actions in referring to their existing referral partners, or identify possible shortcomings and preferable alternatives.
Other elements of the ecosystem, including the platform and RQ Partnerships, support RQ Certified in overcoming the barriers to referrals and making collaborating much more modern, transparent, comfortable and easy.
Firms which pass the initial assessment progress to a second stage. Where there is a marginal pass or a fail, RQ will provide helpful feedback and welcome a subsequent resubmission.
Firms applying for RQ Certification go through a two-stage process. In the initial assessment, firms answer a set of questions on, for example, advice areas, investment philosophy, fees, financial management, team and so on. They must also provide standard accompanying documentation (which good financial planning firms would typically already have in place).
The second, 'full' assessment stage includes physical or virtual site visits by RQ's Certified team. The applicant firm must also provide further documentation detailing its inner workings, for example evidencing its financial stability, insurance policies and specific financial planning work with clients.
RQ will conduct a refresher assessment annually, using pre-populated forms which only require relevant edits and updates. These will identify potential areas of improvement for firms. A more in-depth reassessment will be conducted every three years.