SimplyBiz has opened up its New Model Business Academy (NMBA) to the whole of the financial services market and those looking to begin a career in the profession.
The free to use, not-for-profit online service aims to help advisers, paraplanners, trainees and administrators to achieve their professional qualification and personal development goals.
Offering support in four key areas - professional qualifications, sharing ideas, succession planning and changing business models - it provides users with a development map and gives access to course information, guidance, study materials, CII and IFS past exam papers and links to courses.
The NMBA was tested by firms and advisers using SimplyBiz and Compliance First and over 2,500 members have registered to use it since its launch in May 2008.
Steve Braidford, managing director of the NMBA, points to the "ease of use" of the system as the reason for the strong take-up and says firms can also use the service to train and educate their administration staff.
"There have been 20,000 past papers downloaded in the last 12 months and one of the most popular downloads has been CFP1," he says.
"Firms are getting their administration teams to take the papers, as a way of seeing what their level of knowledge is and to get them started on the road to becoming advisers."
The group's chairman Ken Davy says the NMBA will "help accelerate change already in motion" in the industry. "It demystifies the route to qualifications and help today's and tomorrow's IFAs plan their development path."
Ongoing development of the service is being assisted by three main sponsors, Prudential, Skandia and Zurich, and four associate partners, AXA, Just Retirement, LV= and Plum Software.
The NMBA can be accessed at www.nmba.info
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