New IFAs will be expected to pass a core examination in advice skills if they are to fit into the ne...
New IFAs will be expected to pass a core examination in advice skills if they are to fit into the new Training and Competence regime which comes into force next year.
On top of that, they have to pass examinations in retirement planning, protection, investments and risks, and financial environment regulation and ethics.
This comes as the Skill Council for Financial Services today launched the new standards framework for financial services, which the government hopes will raise the level of skills, qualifications and standards within the financial advice sector.
The standards framework outlines (on the attached PDF) three-tiers of education requirements. At the top are international standards for financial planning, whereas foundation skills can be found at the bottom.
In between these two tiers are the bracket where most IFAs are expected to fit into. Alongside the five examinations an adviser HAS to take, they can also choose between another 12 specialists subjects such as taxation planning and securities etc.
In addition to these tiers, an extra level is also added at the bottom for introduction to financial services, mostly aimed at back office and support staff roles. This 'foundation course' can also be used for consumer education, for people selling Sandler products as well as for schools and colleges.
Tiers of financial advice exams under the new examinations regime are not as simple to understand as many advisers might hope, as the original formula has changed shape to reflect the way modules are designed to interlock, as the diagram below shows.
"Core" financial advice modules - shown in green - are seen as Level 3 and level 4 modules, even though they effectively sit in the 2nd tier of advice standards.
The "ISO" standard module does not specify content at this stage, but is shown as an attachment to the basic "advice skills" requirements.
Floating boxed modules to the left and right of the main exams are seen as specialist areas which an adviser or their employer must study if they wish to cover these streams of advice.
(A full colour version of this diagram is attached by clicking thru the right-hand link.)
Chief executive of the SCFS David Jackman says: "We are developing a standards framework in an international context to raise skill levels across the industry and the contributions of our partners in the process are critical to boost the performance and competitiveness of UK Plc."
Together with the National Learning and Skills Council (NLSC), the SCFS also drafts a "road map" for when the different phases are going to be introduced.
This map indicates that exams will be running already by mid-2004.
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