IFA support services firm SimplyBiz has called on the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) to "dramatically" cut exam fees for financial advisers.
Chairman Ken Davy says the next four years will see an "explosion" in the number of exams being taken after the FSA's Retail Distribution Review (RDR) suggested QCA Level 4 should be the minimum requirement for UK IFAs.
Currently, individual exams cost £106 each and the CII estimates it will cost advisers currently at FPC level an average of £1,200 to gain the Diploma qualification.
The CII has repeated it is a not-for-profit organisation amid claims it may seek to profiteer from the RDR's proposals. Now Davy says it should "honour that commitment" by cutting fees.
"The drive for increased professionalism and qualifications is already well under way," he says. "I urge the CII to act now to reduce the cost of higher qualifications for all financial advisers."
But Steve Jenkins, CII financial services director, says it will be re-investing any extra income from increased exam uptake in "additional services", such as upping annual exam sittings from two to three.
"We are indeed not for profit," he adds. "We want to remain financially strong but we certainly have no intention of profiteering from the RDR."
Davy also says the CII should make supporting study material more readily available, again at lower cost, as well as make much greater use of technology and remote learning, but Jenkins argues it is already doing this.
"It is a fair challenge and it's one we're confident we have embraced," he says. "Every Diploma subject now has a full range of learning material and we have also created personal planning statements so advisers can see exactly where they are at the moment and what they need to do to get the Diploma."IFAonline
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