Trade bodies and IFAs are concerned that passed "top-up" or advanced IFA qualifications, such as AFP...
Trade bodies and IFAs are concerned that passed "top-up" or advanced IFA qualifications, such as AFPC modules, will not be seen as a recognized achievement when changes to the examination regime are enacted next year.
IFAonline has received several emails from IFAs, since plans for the new Skills Council examinations standards were unveiled, questioning whether credits will be given to IFAs for the qualifications they have already passed when the new regime requires advisers pass specialist subjects to do particular sectors of business, such as pension transfer advice.
One IFA comments:
"I have decided to specialize in investment advice and have taken AFPC examinations in Taxation and Trusts, Personal Investment Planning, Holistic Financial Planning, Savings and Investments and I am currently studying to sit Investment Portfolio Planning and the Investment Management Certificate over the next two months. I know of plenty of other advisers who have passed many more of the existing AFPC examinations than me, surely those of us who have made a conscious effort to be better qualified to give clients advice should not be penalised by being forced to sit a whole new raft of examinations," adds the IFA.
One IFA in particular points out that it could have an effect on his PII cover as he has already passed his G60, but has an exclusion in his PI contract for corporate pensions business.
Industry sources hope the Skills Council will attempt to "grandfather" any additional exams already taken by advisers against the newspecialist modules - so advisers who have already completed several parts of the AFPC or CFP certificate will not be required to retake them through a new exam.
An answer is now being sought from Jackman as both the IFA Promotion and the Life Insurance Association have now asked whether advanced exams, such as G60 and the AFPC, will be recognized as sufficient qualifications to prevent the need for further training.
David Elms, chief executive of IFA Promotion, says:
"We welcome the simplicity and familiarity of A-level and degree equivalence, which should benefit consumer understanding and trust. However, we're concerned to see that the thousands of IFAs who have already taken steps to raise their own game are not ignored under the new framework. The framework must also recognise those Financial Advisers who take some of the new specialist modules, but not enough to qualify as Financial Planners."
He continues: "Our experience shows there is clear consumer demand for IFAs with advanced qualifications, both in generic financial planning and in areas specific to their financial needs, such as mortgages, pensions or investment planning. We will look to work with the Skills Council to ensure consumers can continue to find IFAs with qualifications relevant to their product needs," adds Elms.
John Ellis, spokesman for the LIA also adds:
"Our real concern is standards of examinations and how they will be maintained. There is no indication of how these exams will be taken and whether exams already taken will be seen as enough to not need additional assessment," says Ellis.
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Paul Bruns and Elaine Parkes
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