The second annual summit of the three main bodies in the will writing sector gathered again last week to discuss the threats and opportunities the sector faces.
After many years of non collaboration, the IPW and the Society along with the BEST Foundation, are now forging ahead with shared objectives and standards for the sector to help raise the bar for the professionals working in it and those who would like to join the sector as a professional career or as a business building opportunity.
In light of the much anticipated findings by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into complaints levied by consumers around service standards, pricing and consumer protection, all three bodies agreed that these are the areas that everyone should be addressing for their members and consumers.
There are several initiatives that will become apparent in the coming months to help protect both the public and members and to help identify those that sit outside of the three membership organisations and very much highlight those that are members and abide by a Code of Practice.
It was agreed by all of the individuals present that as a collective and as a strong collaborative voice for the sector, that a meeting with the CMA be arranged at the earliest opportunity. This would demonstrate that all three organisations take their roles seriously and that by working together are seen to be on the front foot in putting our own house in order before the findings are decided upon and published.
This is a potential watershed moment for the sector and it is important that this new collaboration and sharing of information and best practice helps to protect those working in the sector. Furthermore consumers can have confidence and trust in the individuals and firms that the advice is qualified and current and they have a means of redress if it all goes wrong. Commenting on the day, Phil Pamment, Best Foundation’s Chair, said:
“When BEST was formed our main aim was to help to improve standards within the industry and now the three organisations are meeting and working together this can only be a good thing for the sector and all the serious Estate Planning Professionals within it. Most importantly it is great news for all consumers.”
Anthony Belcher, SWW Director, said that it was “great for the SWW to meet again with the IPW and Best Foundation to discuss ideas, collaboration and support for the betterment of the will writing profession”. He added:
“I am looking forward to furthering the conversations and achieving our collective aims.”
Sarah Williams, IPW Vice Chair, said:
“This meeting of likeminded stakeholders inspires confidence for the industry that we can uphold the highest levels of standards, training and client care across the board to inspire consumer confidence and protection and to rid the industry of unscrupulous individuals and organisations.”