A Message From The IFW Chair, Chris Budd

Why are you a member of the IFW?

In October 2019 I put out a press release asking if anyone would be interested in joining a new institute for financial wellbeing. I was blown away by the response, and so the IFW was born.

Eighteen months later and we have some 240 individual members and the support of forward thinking organisations such as Aegon, Parmenion and Yardstick. We have established the five pillars as the definition of financial wellbeing and provide a range of events.

The IFW only exists because you wanted it to. I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to talk to you about why you are a member of the IFW, what you get out of it as people join for different reasons.

Which sort of an IFW member are you?

The Standards Raiser

Some of you have joined just to support the cause, and don’t get actively involved.

That is fine! Your support has enabled us to spread the concept that happiness should be at the heart of financial planning far and wide.

The term financial wellbeing did not exist in financial services when I wrote the book back in 2015. Now it is at the heart of policy of the FCA, MAPS, it is used in marketing by the PFS and some of the biggest advice firms in the UK.

It is not, however, always used correctly. It is important that the meaning of a word or phrase is used consistently. When firms use the term just in marketing, and not in practice, this will confuse the public. The IFW therefore stands as the standard bearer for what financial wellbeing means, which is in its widest sense – the five pillars.

Your membership makes you part of this movement. The more members we get, the greater our clout. Your membership is therefore crucial, even if you don’t attend events.

The Knowledge Hoover

Some of you wish to learn about the relationship between money and happiness, in order to improve the advice that you give to clients. You engage with us and with other members.

As you know, we hold regular events. These are often well attended, but the numbers represent only some 10-20% of the IFW membership.

If this profile fits you, then can I suggest that you really should try and come along to at least one event a month, as well as the annual conference.

For those that are more than curious and wish to bring real change to their planning process, the financial wellbeing certificate is for you (next cohort starting in May).

We are developing further courses which will feature on a learning and training centre which we hope to be launched very soon.

The Commercially Imperative

Helping clients to understand what makes them happy, and to use their money to increase their wellbeing, which creates stickier clients.

This is at the heart of the commercial imperative for adopting a financial wellbeing approach.

Firms who want to boast that they deliver financial wellbeing in their marketing can prove that they do so with our Audit. This involves providing evidence in a number of categories, based on the five pillars.

The firms that pass the Audit are able to show the IFW logo on their website.

Most firms fail the audit first time, however this provides a pathway to how they can improve the financial wellbeing aspect of their processes.

It also means that, when they do pass, they have an authentic marketing message.

The Marketing Departments

The fourth category of person who is keen to get involved with the IFW might be the marketing department of a large advice firm.

Typically, they are interested in financial wellbeing because it is the latest buzzword, and because it makes the firm look good. They ask us to speak with their marketing team, but not the advice team.

The integrity of the IFW is extremely important to us. We will not be used by firms who only want to paint a gloss over their advice without actually trying to raise standards.

If you want to become an individual member, attend events, and find out more about financial wellbeing, you’re very welcome. But the purpose is to apply the research about money and happiness in order to produce better client outcomes, not just for website copy.

In Conclusion

You may recognise yourself in one or all of the first three profiles. You are part of a community, a movement.

The IFW only exists because you wanted it to. If you genuinely don’t have time to get involved, we still need you.

But if you can just find half an hour a month for the Wellbeing Café, or a couple of days a year for the annual conference, we would really love to see you.

This is how change happens, by groups of likeminded people getting together.

Spread the word!