I am seeking election to the IFP Board. This is why.
I am Richard Allum and I am standing for election to the Board of the IFP.
I am a paraplanner; a role that - just ten years ago - barely existed.
Ten years from now, I hope it will enjoy professional respect in all quarters of the financial services community and beyond.
But this is not a self-serving ambition.
I believe that, with its increasing presence in the delivery of advice for financial planning practices, paraplanning must aspire to standards of professional conduct and competence that are at least as demanding as those for financial advisers themselves - and be seen to achieve them.
For financial planning professionals to inspire consumer trust and confidence in financial advice, they must be able to rely on professional standards of paraplanning which they can trust.
A significant presence among the IFP's growing membership, is a generation of paraplanners who - more often than not - are young, eager to learn and bring a wealth of ideas and perspectives to the financial planning community.
And, by their association with the IFP, this generation is clearly mindful of the importance of professionalism.
Just as the IFP has been instrumental in spearheading the pursuit of higher professional standards for financial planning, I believe it has an enormous role to play in shaping and influencing standards to which this generation of paraplanners can aspire.
It is the IFP's ability to bring together practitioners, with a shared ambition and determination to pursue ever higher professional standards in financial advice, that makes it unique.
It would be privilege for me if you would consider casting your vote for me; to allow me the opportunity to help shape commonly shared professional standards for paraplanning and for paraplanning to play its part in fulfilling the professional reputation of financial advice in the UK.
The deadline for voting is 5pm on Friday 21 September. The results will be announced at the IFP's annual general meeting taking place at Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, on Monday 1 October 2012.