Intermediaries do not know enough about investments to be advising on them correctly ' this is a ver...
Intermediaries do not know enough about investments to be advising on them correctly ' this is a very possible outcome from Ron Sandler's review. In fact, it would only repeat a criticism which has been bandied around for many years.
So how does the UK stack up against other major markets? At first glance none too well. The Institute of Financial Planning offers experienced intermediaries yearly licensed certificates (certificate of financial planning) in various areas including investments and tax. The purpose behind the institute is to help raise the professional standards of financial planners up to the level of accountants and solicitors.
While in the US some 30,000 intermediaries have CFP licenses, 11,000 have them in Canada and 5,000 in Australia the UK has just 200. Admittedly the UK has plenty of other exams for intermediaries but the gap is stark.
At a time when the ABI and Autif are keen to improve their own levels of self-regulation, intermediaries are going to have to follow suit and help themselves to improve their image.
Investment training is one of those areas in which the industry could and should be taking the initiative without too much difficulty, especially now that the FSA has announced it will lighten up on the regulation of training standards by eliminating continuous professional development points.
However, the FSA's easing of requirements comes with a caveat that if intermediaries do not keep up their own on-going development then the regulator will step in. For an industry that claims it is snowed under by the constant regulatory requirements, this is the opportunity to take the initiative and have control over its own professional standards.
With the Sandler review underway, advisers should take the opportunity to put some constructive ideas forward on how they as an industry can work together to improve the standing of independent advice as a profession ' their views on improving investment training is just one area.
During the consultation period to the end of September, Investment Week's online site, IFAonline, will be collecting thoughts and comments from intermediaries to put together a submission to the review on the issues they feel are vital.
The discussion area of the site can be used to express thoughts, ideas and suggestions on what intermediaries believe should be key areas of change in the retail savings market. For more information go to ifaonline.co.uk.
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