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No room for time wasters

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Rob Reid, Director, The Ideas Lab

Rob Reid, Director, The Ideas Lab

After months of reading how unfair it is that the advisers have to pass examinations, it is refreshing to read a diary from someone who is committed to getting on with the job in hand. Of everything we have at our disposal, time is the most precious asset, without exception. There is just 21 months to go and now is not the time for waiting. It is the time for action.

It could certainly be argued that gap-filling has created more gaps in the “how to” than the knowledge gaps we have to identify. It’s all too common for people to blame this on the examination bodies, especially the CII, yet all this does is to underline a failure to see the big picture.

The main culprit in this was the FSSC, admittedly under its former leadership, the Skills Council sat on its hands and as it did so, many wondered if it had any constructive purpose. If only it had used the vacuum in guidance from the regulator to exert greater pressure instead of aggravating and alienating it. I am sure that this will prompt those remaining in the FSSC from that time to suggest that I am being unfair.

erhaps. But I am sure that I am 100 per cent accurate. The delays in establishing the extent and methodology for gap-filling have not helped and we are still in the dark as to the form it will take.

We need a definitive statement from the regulator as to the methods that are acceptable in validation of gap filling. It is clear that reading articles or textbooks lacks the validation that many advisers feel should be there.

’Training is just as important as investment, TCF and marketing and adviser firms need to ensure its importance is recognised and that funding is available’

That’s not to suggest we need more exams. What we need is some out-of-the-box thinking, allowing firms to test their advisers using roleplay. This could be minuted. It is vital that we all understand what needs assessing by the supervisors. Reading could be tested online using multiple-choice tests. I believe this is the way forward but we need comfort from the regulators that these approaches (note the plural) are acceptable. What we need here is guidance, not prescrip’Training is just as important as investment, TCF and marketing and adviser firms need to ensure its importance is recognised and that funding is available’ tive rules. But back to Kevin. In particular, he makes the valid point in his close that this is just the start and that is a point that everyone has to appreciate. It’s one thing getting to level four but it’s essential that we keep people there as a minimum. There is no doubt that in the future, the competence of the individuals in a firm will become a major deciding factor in competition.

Integrating the training effectively will pay dividends. It is vital that training is not only relevant but can allow the firm and the adviser to progress to greater profitability (in a safe way) and to ensure his or her competence. Some firms have investment committees and committees for service, TCF and marketing. Training is just as important and adviser firms need to ensure its importance is recognised and that funding is available.

As Kevin has shown, it is important to build a project plan showing who is where on the journey to competence at level four what they still have to do and how they plan to do it. Kevin is to be commended on the level of detail he has captured and the systematic way he has plotted his path. I have no doubt he will be ready in time. In fact, he will probably have time to spare.

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