IFAs will be expected to pass five core examinations in product, regulation and advice skills when t...
IFAs will be expected to pass five core examinations in product, regulation and advice skills when the new Training and Competence regime comes into force next year.
Initial details of the Skills Council for Financial Services' National Standards Framework for Financial Services "road map" - presented to the industry by the SCFS's chief executive David Jackman at a press conference this morning - are still sketchy.
However, IFAonline has been told plans are still to introduce three-tiers of education requirements, with financial planning at the top of the chain and foundation skills at the bottom, as previously expressed in the FSA's CP157.
Financial planning will still be seen as the highest level of financial advice and support to consumers and will be modeled on the international financial planning ISO standard.
Design of the formula has changed slightly but most IFAs are expected to fall into the middle bracket of training, which requires all financial advisers to study and pass five core exams in advice skills, retirement planning, investment and risk, protection as well as financial environment, regulations and ethics.
Advisers wishing to handle specialist advice work can opt to study another eight modules - some of which are still in development given that insurance regulations (N(i)) have yet to be introduced:
Specialist investment advisers can also choose to study an additional four modules:
Investment management and securities are two of the modules which could also form part of the higher standard of planning, as it is thought to be targeted at the same level of training as that required by fund managers, suggests one industry commentator.
Exams syllabuses and content will be set by various examination bodies and must be approved by the SCFS.
However, this is now the final structure of financial advice and planning education, so details of training and competence requirements are expected to be confirmed by the end of October. It is then expected that the new regime and examinations will begin around H2 2004.
Industry sources attending the Skills Council presentation at Mansion House in London say the plans are very positive because Jackman and his team are "clearly looking to raise standards" of financial advice and planning.
IFAonline will update you with more details once we receive copies of the formulas and more information.
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