Exam writers Calibrand have entered the market with an 'RDR-ready' QCF Level 4 offering for financial advisers.
The six-unit Diploma in Professional Financial Advice, awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, appeared on the FSA's list of approved qualifications in June, but was officially launched earlier this month.
Countering some criticisms that not enough exams deal with the client-facing practicalities of the job, one of the units covers the 'application of professional financial advice'.
Calibrand says units from other awarding bodies that also meet the FSA's and FSSC's criteria can be combined with the diploma to meet the minimum of 37 QCF credits or 370 guided learning hours needed to pass.
The company says as it is the '"new boy" in the RDR exam market, it is offering advisers who register access to free online training material and free online mock exam sittings. Advisers who do register are not under any obligation to sit the full exam at the end.
Advisers who get more than 70% in a practice paper will be judged to be exam-ready and the company is offering free re-sits for anyone who subsequently scores less than 65%.
"With limited re-sit time before the end of 2012, this process gives advisers a clear indicator as to whether they are ready or not," Calibrand managing director Denis Saunders says.
Calibrand says all six units will be available by December. Taking the full diploma (all six units) costs £750, while individual units one to five cost £141 each. The sixth unit costs £176.25.
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