Training and competence proposals published by the FSA last December are likely to move forward with...
Training and competence proposals published by the FSA last December are likely to move forward with relatively few changes in two weeks time, LIA delegates were told on Friday.
Speaking as part of an FSA panel session, David Jackman, head of training, business and ethics at the FSA, said he would reveal further information in two weeks through a new consultation document.
However most contributors to the discussion on Discussion Paper 9, Examination Review, are "supportive" of the FSA's plans to introduce annual exams, said Jackman, and allow individuals to take regular top-ups to exams, rather than taking all exams again each time they move into a new sector of the market.
Having read the 120 responses to DP9 from product providers, trade bodies and intermediaries, officials agree most of the proposals will go ahead, said Jackman.
Jackman also signaled, however, officials are still undecided as to how to deal with the designation of exams, because of the "complex matrix of exams" which can be taken at present.
When an intermediary asked why the financial services designation was being forced to change if doctors, for example, are not, Jackman replied the current array of designations is too confusing for consumers to understand and do not offer the level of competence and protection the FSA is now looking for.
"I'm concerned about how the industry projects competence to the consumer, but it is also about rising standards. The industry needs a clean, fresh start, a new pitch which will be clear to the consumer and the industry," said Jackman.
"They could be letters, it could be a longer description of your role [as adviser], but we are not weighted to any one preference."
Jackman said the FSA is pushing to set financial services exams at a higher level because "quality is more important than quantity", adding he would still prefer to see all annual testing and retesting done over the internet with approved exam adjudicators, rather than in halled examinations.
He later added that he believes financial journalists should be required to pass a form of financial qualification however, trade body officials say such changes are unlikely to be introduced at this stage.
Further consultation will also be introduced in September, said Jackman, to eatablish how examinations relating to investment advice should be handled.
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