The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has endorsed Financial Planning Week,which draws attention to the value of financial planning in improving people's financial "fitness".

However, the AIC also stressed the importance of ensuring that your financial planner is able and willing to recommend the most appropriate investments to enable you to achieve your financial goals.

Nick Britton, Head of Training, AIC said:

"Since the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), the number of financial planning firms using investment companies has increased rapidly, from less than 600 firms in 2012 to nearly 1,400 firms in 2016. However, despite this, a majority of firms still do not use investment companies in their financial planning – largely for historical reasons.

"This is a shame, as investment companies offer good long-term performance. For example, the average investment company has returned 112% over the ten years to the end of March 2017, compared to 82% for the average open-ended fund and 74% for the FTSE All Share index.

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"Investment companies won't be right for every client, but that doesn't justify some firms excluding them altogether. Before choosing a financial planner, a good question to ask is whether they consider investment companies in making their recommendations – and if they don't, why not?"

According to FCA rules, any financial planner who calls themselves 'independent' should consider all retail investment products including investment companies.

The AIC runs a free programme of education and training for financial planners to bring them up to speed with investment companies. To keep updated with the latest face-to-face and online training opportunities, financial planners should register on the AIC's Financial Advisers centre – www.theaic.co.uk/financial-advisers/home.

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