Is a total 35 hours' worth of continuing professional development (CPD) each year a suitable requirement given the ever-changing financial sector? Charlotte Richards reports...
"I, and some of the people I know in this industry, will have completed 35 hours' CPD by the end of March," one IFA said. "To say 35 hours is the requirement for the whole year is frankly ridiculous."
Do you agree?
It will not have escaped yoru attention that the requirements for annual CPD are changing. From 1 January, under the incoming Retail Distribution Review (RDR) professionalism rules, all advisers must carry out 35 hours of activity a year, with 21 of those structured.
Is 35 hours' annual CPD enough to meet clients' needs
Structured CPD is any activity which uses materials or activities designed to achieve a specific learning outcome, such as seminars, workshops or conferences.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) estimates more than 70% of all advisers are already achieving this amount of CPD annually, yet the requirement has stirred debate.
The question has been: is the FSA being too easy on financial advisers?
Alistair Cunningham, financial planning director of Wingate Financial Planning, said he head recently met his annual requirement in a little under one month.
One awards entry that required four case studies added up to five hours, he calculated, while becoming certified was in excess of 20 hours.
But Cunningham is not in favour of a significant increase in the hourly requirement, which will be assessed by accredited bodies when they renew advisers' statements of professional standing (SPS) each year.
"I would probably nudge it up a little, but it certainly shouldn’t exceed 50 hours," he says.
Cunningham is in favour of the new structured and unstructured system and criticises the old points system for being “complicated”.
“Previously you just had to say you read financial journals. But, no matter how good Professional Adviser is, is it realistic to say you get all your CPD from reading it?”
Meanwhile, Duncan Carter, a director and chartered financial planner at Clearwater Financial Planning, thinks 35 hours ought to be the “bare minimum”.
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