Bob Little & Co has enhanced its status as one of the region’s leading firms of independent financial planners with another prestigious qualification at the end of a spectacular year.
Martin Cockerill has become the second member of staff after director Robert Little to attain Chartered status, an achievement reached by only one in seven IFAs.
The qualification involved hundreds of hours of study, four 2,000-word dissertations and four three-hour examinations over three years.
“It’s a Level 6 qualification so it’s classed as an advanced diploma and has enabled me to apply to become a Chartered Associate of the London Institute of Banking and Finance,” said Martin.
“There was a lot of reading involved but it’s also very interactive and activity based, so you apply what you’re learning to real-life situations.
“I think the fact that two of our advisers hold Chartered status will set us apart locally. It’s also a good thing that they come from two different professional bodies. I felt I needed Level 6 to progress my career and I’ve already been able to put some of the knowledge I’ve gained into practice to help my clients.”
Martin began his career with Britannic Assurance in 1998 and worked for Friends Provident and Zurich before joining Bob Little & Co Ltd in 2004. At that time the firm was still being run by its founder, Robert’s father Bob, who died from cancer in 2011.
“I believed in Bob’s ethos and ethics when I first met him and since Bob’s death the firm has retained those same principles,” said Martin, who is qualified to advise on investments, pensions, protection and mortgages.
“Bob was ahead of his time and many of his theories were very innovative and are only now becoming mainstream thinking. He was very entrepreneurial in his thought process and I’ve carried that through into my work.
“Robert is very similar to Bob in many ways and is incredibly gifted with regard to exams and the academic side. It’s Robert who has really encouraged me to take this next step myself.
“It’s a big commitment, especially when you have a family, but it’s well worth the time taken to knuckle down and get the qualification. It’s not just about having more letters after your name, it’s gaining new knowledge and being able to apply it.”
The news comes after an impressive 12 months for the Redcar-based firm, which was crowned North East Adviser Firm of the Year in at the Professional Adviser Awards in February.
And earlier this month Robert was recently shortlisted for Personal Finance Society Investment Advice Specialist of the Year for the second year running.
He also added CFA Charterholder to his growing list of credentials. According to Chartered Financial Analyst Institute figures, only one in five candidates who begin the programme achieve Charterholder status, taking an average of four years to do so.
Described as “the highest distinction in the investment management profession”, this accreditation covers topics ranging from portfolio management and wealth management to economics and statistics. Equivalent to a Masters degree, it is only available to those who hold a Bachelor’s degree and have the required amount of relevant work experience.
Bob Little & Co – which is one of only 500 across the UK told hold corporate CII Chartered status – employs four advisers and seven support staff and is based at Kirkleatham Business Park in Redcar.
It offers advice on areas including savings and investments, retirement planning, mortgages and tax planning.