The number of people taking the Certificate for Financial Advisers (CeFA) rose 12% in 2007, according to the ifs School of Finance.
ifs attributes part of the rise to the certificate’s 2004 re-launch, which made it more accessible with improved learning material.
A spokesman says the ifs exam has perhaps proved more popular than its competitors' equivalents as their versions may not provide flexible exam times.
Mark Roberts, head of financial regulation at the ifs School of Finance, adds: "We can attribute the rise to several factors: the increasing attractiveness of pursuing a career in financial advice; some major providers and a number of IFA firms have switched from competitors; many CeMAP holders have taken CeFA to diversify their qualifications portfolio and our user-friendly learning materials, unique assessment process and excellent support for individual and corporate users have doubtless played a part too."
The average age of candidates taking CeFA had also hovered around the early to mid-thirties since 2003, before standing at 33 last year. ifs says this “goes some way to addressing claims that the average age of a financial adviser is too high”.
Roberts says: “If these trends continue then we should see a drop in the average age of financial advisers as a whole and can be more confident that there will not be a shortage of advisers in the future.”
ifs also plans to launch an Advanced Module in Financial Advice (AFAM) after the outcome of the FSA’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR).
The module will focus on analysis, evaluation and presenting information rather than purely testing technical knowledge. ifs says this addresses a need for specific competency advice provision, which it says existing qualifications fail to adequately satisfy.
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