Paul Nixon , formerly of Gradus UK , says he regularly ran into conflict with the Financial Services Skills Council when he ran a graduate recruitment agency for the financial services sector several years ago.
Looking again at the ‘proposed’ examination reforms, Nixon questions whether anything has really changed and just who should be setting the standards.
Comment: Re: Exploding the myths of examination reform
I read with interest your article on the above and happily it coincided with your publishing at the same time the results from the Edinburgh University Law graduates achieving an average mark of 97%, having used a self study course to prepare for the FP 1 examination.
My involvement with the Financial Services Industry stopped a couple of years ago - through frustration in trying for some five years or so to operate a successful graduate recruitment programme for the industry sector.
Through my company Gradus UK Ltd and previous involvement at Inter Alliance, I reckon I must have been responsible for having recruited some 200 to 300 graduates into the sector, but it was a frustrating business.
Previous contact with the now named FSSC proved very difficult and consisted of a very pro-banking bias, broken promises, working in advisory capacity for nothing and dealing with individuals who had never sat down with a potential client in their lives - yet still professed to know what was best for the industry going forward.
The structure of qualifications and path forward most recently published had a very familiar look to it - I can remember having proposed such a structure some two or three years ago and it then apparently fell on deaf ears? I suspect it was a case of "not invented here" syndrome - but that may sound bitter.
Graduates are still the way forward for this industry transforming itself into a profession, with more demanding qualifications as the key. It doesn't matter who sets the standards, but if it is not the FSSC - what is their role?
The standards need to meet the future needs of an industry that is still suffering from the ghosts of mis -sold endowments, pensions et al. But these standards whatever they are must be seen to be at a professional level and have an industry (populated by a new breed of adviser) that is capable of delivering those standards in practice - both in study and training for delivery of that advice.
My last conversations with the FSSC still ring in my ear - when they complained that they did not want the sector to be exclusively graduate-based. But why shouldn’t it be? Isn't medicine, law and accountancy taught and practiced at the higher levels? The fact that some law undergraduates can pass FP 1 with the minimum of study I regretfully conclude says more about the so-called standards set than the ability of the students.
When oh when is the industry - because that's what it still is - going to wake up and smell the coffee!IFAonline
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