INFORMATION FOR MEDIATORS
WHY SHOULD A MEDIATOR RECOMMEND A FIAM?
A FIAM offers expertise and support to the clients and the mediator.
Mediators need to manage the financial disclosure process and ensure all information is provided as well as being confident that all parties, including the mediator, have a clear understanding of the joint and individual financial situation.
Family finances often include pensions, investments and family businesses which require expert advice in terms of tax, specific valuations or further investigation, these areas are outside the expertise of the mediator. Identifying areas where further information is needed at the beginning of the process, as well as knowledge as to which experts may need to be instructed, is crucial to ensure informed decisions are made by the parties in the mediation process.
Offering an integrated practice by introducing a Financial Neutral at the beginning of the process by way of a FIAM can provide these expertise. A financial neutral will be appointed jointly by the clients and will have a meeting with them and the mediator and provide feedback either verbally or in writing. They can remain in the background and be called in at a later stage of the process if needed.
AS A MEDIATOR - WHY WORRY ABOUT YOUR CLIENTS PENSIONS
Jo O'Sullivan from O'Sullivan Family Law talks about the importance of financial information for parties going through mediation, in this instance specifically pensions. Pensions are often one of the most valuable assets accrued within a marriage and often overlooked.
Engaging with a financial neutral to carry out a FIAM can support the mediation and assess whether an experts report is required or not.
WHY IS A FIAM NEEDED?
A FIAM is an independent neutral assessment of the assets built up during a relationship.
When a relationship breaks down assets are typically split between the parties. The FIAM provides the parties with an analysis that provides an overview of each asset, confirming the options available and suggesting whereby further information is required. This information assist in allowing meaningful discussions.
These discussions and negotiations may be between the parties themselves or be assisted and supported by others (Mediator / Lawyer / Barrister etc). A FIAM is the initial step in understanding the true value of assets which allows for a fair settlement.
WHAT IS A FINANCIAL NEUTRAL?
A Financial Neutral is a financial advisor who acts in a neutral capacity, typically within mediation or collaborative law.
The Financial Neutral will act as an impartial support and guide thoughtful the process of separation or divorce. Providing information that will assist the parties to reaching an agreement from a position of knowledge.
The Financial Neutral will need to have skills and knowledge in many areas and should be in a position to self certify their knowledge. The Financial Neutral Self Certification Guide is accessible from the link below.
HOW TO SELECT A FINANCIAL NEUTRAL
Selecting a Financial Neutral to assist your clients is not straightforward, a list of neutrals is not produced. You will need to ask for referrals of carry out your own research. Plonk at the other sections on this page for help with this.
Once you have located a Financial Adviser check that they can satisfy the Self Certification Requirements. If they can it is then a matter of matching skills and personalities, in the same way that you would introduce any other third party.
FIND A FINANCIAL ADVISER
There are a number of steps that must be taken to find a financial adviser who is qualified to carry out a FIAMS. The links below will allow you to find an adviser, you should then check that the adviser has the required knowledge by asking them to self certify using the self certification documentation.
Resolution Accredited Financial Adviser
Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way. All members sign-up to the Code of Practice and are expected to complete training about using it in their day-to-day work.
Resolution provides an accreditation scheme for financial advisers, you can search for a financial adviser, the information provided about them will inform you if they have achieved a level whereby they are accredited.
Chartered Financial Planner
THE PERSONAL FINANCE SOCIETY
The Personal Finance Society is the professional body for financial advisers and others that work in financial services. They are part of the Chartered Insurance Institute, whose royal charter dictates that an important part of what they do is give people like you greater confidence when making important financial decisions.
Chartered Financial Planner status enables advisers to demonstrate their professional commitment to raising standards of knowledge and technical competency. It informs clients that they can expect the highest quality of service.
Certified Financial Planner
CHARTERED INSTITUTE FOR SECURITIES AND INVESTMENT
A CISI CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional has the knowledge, skills and experience to help you to review all of your options so you can make informed decisions about what you want from life both now and in future. They've been tested to make sure they meet rigorous international competency, ethical and professional practice standards.
The benefits of having a financial neutral carry out a FIAMs
Mena Ruparel (family solicitor and arbitrator) and Mark Penston (Financial Neutral and Financial Planner) discuss the benefits of including a Financial Neutral, how the FIAMs works, when to introduce the neutral and how to find a neutral.