The managing director of an advisory firm has hit back at shadow pensions minister Nigel Waterson for questioning the RDR's focus on qualifications above experience.
Almary Green's Carl Lamb was responding to comments made by Waterson at the AIFA dinner this week where he queried the priority given to examinations in the RDR and cast doubt on the practicalities of the 2012 implementation date.
Despite the backlash against the FSA's plans to make advisers sit exams, Lamb says the proposals are far from new and firms have had plenty of time to get to grips with the changes.
"Qualifications under the RDR have been a point on the horizon for a number of years now and advisers looking to build successful business models have been heading towards it and now have a programme in place," says Lamb.
He says taking exams and gaining qualifications are an essential part of the drive to make the industry a profession and rank advisers alongside the likes of lawyers and accountants.
Some industry figures have been pushing for the FSA to adopt other means of evaluating advisers besides examinations, such as work-placed assessments.
Last week, FSA director of conduct policy Sheila Nicoll, speaking at the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (TISA) conference, said the regulator understood advisers' "apprehension" over taking exams and would consider other assessment options.
But Lamb thinks whilst work-based training and experience has its merits, there is no substitute for qualifications.
"At the end of the day, experience has to be backed up by something quantifiable," he says.
He adds achieving the QCA Level 4 minimum qualification should be just the beginning.
"At Almary Green we expect our advisers' training to be ongoing. Most of our advisers have reached chartered financial planner status but through 100 hours of CPD a year we expect them to keep up to date with ongoing legislation.
"Those without the qualifications are expected to step up to the mark."
Lamb argues minimum qualifications will also aid the transition to a fee-based charging structure.
"It is about investing in people and that will see benefit in the years to come. People will pay on a professional basis because they can see what they are getting."
Although the RDR does not completely outlaw commission, the FSA admits its proposals amount to its "effective banning". But critics of the review have repeatedly voiced their concerns moves to a pure fee-based charging structures will put off consumers.
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