Those of you who read last month's blog might think that I've got education and training on the brain, as here I am again with one of my old hobby horses. However, this time there's something different for us all to digest.
For years our industry has been struggling with getting good quality advisers and trainees into the profession. Financial practitioners have been reluctant to take on and train staff at great cost to themselves, when they have no means of ensuring that the individual will remain with the firm long enough for them to recoup their “investment”. Let’s face it: the average age of financial planners in the UK is now so high that this whole idea of “succession” becomes more important by the day.
I am so pleased that this month we at the IFP have been able to announce one of the most significant events in our history. The Institute has chosen Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (MMUBS) as its first UK academic institution partner.
In the US there are over 300 colleges running education programmes for certified financial planner certification, ensuring a steady supply of well-trained entrants into the profession over there.
In a move that we think will set a new educational benchmark for the financial services sector here, the MMUBS financial services degree course becomes the first in the UK to offer a programme which will meet the pre-certification education requirement for the certified financial planner qualification - financial planning’s highest professional standard. It’s taken us a while to catch up with what’s going on in the States, but now the momentum has started, we can look forward to exciting times ahead.
So what does this mean for the industry?
Under the partnership, final-year students doing the financial services degree course will be the first to submit case study reports to the IFP for accreditation as CFP professionals. The first students to graduate from the programme in the summer of 2007 will do so with a qualification equivalent to the diploma in financial services.
I am convinced that this programme will be the first of many all over the country, and the benefits to the financial planning profession will be significant. Not only will practitioners be able to recruit high calibre graduate staff, but it raises awareness of the CFP qualification and helps us to achieve greater recognition for the profession across the UK.
The students themselves will benefit from the IFP’s mentoring programme, and will gain a better appreciation of theory put into practice – something that has been missing for a long time now. Not only will the experience and knowledge that the students obtain improve their chances of gaining employment but it will, as time progresses, ensure that the industry itself can move forward with high calibre individuals at the helm.
It’s a “win-win” situation if ever I saw one.
Nick Cann is ceo at the Institute of Financial Planning.
The views expressed are those of the author and not those of the organisation he represents.IFAonline
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