Financial advisers should be expected to complete approximately seven examination modules if they wa...
Financial advisers should be expected to complete approximately seven examination modules if they want to become a "standard" financial advisers, suggests feedback from the industry on reform of exams for FSA financial adviser requirements.
Details found in the feedback statement to CP157 - offering thoughts on the reform of financial adviser exams and standards - suggest respondents generally suggest the structure needs to set out more accurately to explain which requirements will be compulsory and which are "inspirational".
"A current generalist practitioner would probably need to take around seven modules under the proposed structure. Those specialising would then choose further modules according to need, says the FS.
In particular, respondents are seeking more information on which modules the FSA might see as part of the high-level IFA training requirements and which would fit into the lower-risk or generic adviser category.
But plans to build exam requirements in modules have generally been welcomed by all the parties who responded to the FSA's training reforms for financial advisers, as it would help to build a career path for anyone taking the exams.
The FSA says it may publish additional consultations on exams for long-term care products, corporate business training and may even look at debt counseling issues, as well as possible amendments to the T&C sourcebook, as there is a need for specific focus on these three areas and at the "lower end of the financial advice market, the need for debt counseling/advice is of paramount importance".
Employee benefits training, however, would be suitably served by existing content found in protection and pensions exams.
Work-based learning is the favoured approach, says feedback, particularly as there are now several e-based or online training and exam systems either available to IFAs or being developed.
That said, there is obvious concern from providers, trade bodies, IFAs and consumer groups who responded about the amount of record-keeping that might be needed to monitor qualifications and completion of relevant training modules.
It is difficult to tell at this stage, from feedback given, whether the FSA might be able to rectify the "alphabet soup" of designation, because most respondents saw a need for simplification but still appear to disagree about the label advisers should be given.
While there seems to be support for a chartered status which could be widely recognized by consumers - as is currently being pushed by the Chartered Insurance Institute - around half of respondents do not think those who pass only entry-level exams should hold any kind of designation.
At least 75% of the 'designation' letters currently available across the financial services sector would be removed those qualified at financial adviser level were no longer allowed to hold special designation, suggests feedback.
Click thru the right-hand link to view the full feedback document as well as original illustrations for the modules hierarchy.
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