With the certainty of change comes the need to avoid complacency. Lee Travis, chief executive at NMBA, looks at the benefits of expanding your qualifications arsenal.
The need to evolve in our profession is constant, as is the certainty our market will continue to change. Those who remain will be the ones who adapt, always embracing change and viewing it as an ongoing opportunity to reinvent and grow.
The landscape within which we operate dictates that, if we do not progress forwards, we are gradually moving backwards. With this in mind, it is vital to consider various professional educational programmes in order to differentiate and stay ahead of the game.
The regulator has made it clear that the direction of travel over increased professionalism and continuous improvement is set. The choice is to embrace the opportunities or resist while your peers overtake you.
Keeping one step ahead of the qualifications game
The key to differentiation is around mindset, education and being open to exploring.
The new differentiator?
While there has been a lot of debate around independent and restricted advice, we know the public has a different understanding of the word ‘independent’ compared with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
I am not going to speculate about the regulator raising the bar at some point in the future to QCF Level 6; however, could ‘Chartered’ status be the new ‘independent’ when it comes to how advisers differentiate themselves in the future?
I suspect a layman would recognise the Chartered brand and hold it in high regard, as do professional connections, which see this as a real differentiator.
We are more familiar with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) route but it is worth noting the Institute of Financial Services (ifs) now has a Chartered qualification too. Meanwhile, the Institute of Financial Planning’s (IFP) internationally recognised Certified Financial Planner certification is also on equal terms at Level 6.
Granted, a lot of the current focus will be on fine-tuning businesses. However, while the demand does not currently appear to be very high for Level 6 across the sector, there is definitely some appetite and I believe this will grow with time.
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