Up until now, people seeking advice on how to plan their retirement or best invest their savings have been confronted with similar problems the world over. There is a vast choice of investment schemes, legal frameworks vary from country to country, and investments can go wrong. With so many financial planners to choose from, how can they know who to trust and how should they compare the different schemes on offer? For example, according to the technical committee that developed the standard, ISO/TC 222, Personal financial planning, the number of financial planners in the United States alone ranges from 800 000 to several million, depending on the definition of “planner”.

“An International Standard for financial planning will provide simplification for the client by setting forth requirements to assure that the client is well served by financial planners who have met the highest ethical and educational standards”, said Stuart Kessler, Chair of ISO/TC 222.

  • The standard defines six steps of the personal financial planning process:
  • establishing client/planner relations;
  • determining goals and gathering data;
  • evaluating the client’s financial status;
  • developing and presenting the financial plan;
  • implementing recommendations;
  • monitoring the plan recommendations.

At the heart of ISO 22222:2005, is a framework that applies to all aspects of the personal financial planner’s ethical behaviour, and requires compliance with applicable rules and regulations. It gives the requirements for competence performance and competence assessment methods, and obliges the financial planner to demonstrate continued competency by following the necessary training programmes and maintaining records of these.

The standard additionally specifies the requirements, content, and length of experience a personal financial planner must have and is applicable to all personal financial planners regardless of their employment status.

“Experts from a variety of legal, economic and cultural backgrounds from more than 17 countries have authored a unique and pioneering goal-oriented standard,” said Holger Muehlbauer, Secretary of ISO/TC 222, established in 2001 to create an internationally accepted benchmark for providers of personal financial planning.

ISO 22222:2005, Personal financial planning costs 112 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from the ISO Central Secretariat (see below).