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The finishing line

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In our articles charting transitions in the RDR era, Kevin Cannon of MGP Chartered Financial Planners highlights the progress made on gap-fill and exams

Do you remember July 6, 2005, when Jacques Rogge stood in front of the International Olympic Committee General Assembly in Singapore and announced: ’…the Olympic Games in 2012 are awarded to the city of…London’. In less than six months’ time, it will be six years since that memorable lunchtime event.

The Games begin on July 27, 2012 - less than 18 months from now.

Perhaps the speed at which the time has passed since 2005 will bring the RDR deadline into sharper focus. January 1, 2013 is now less than two years away and don’t forget that this date is the “end date” for our transition.

In this article, I want to consider the progress we have made towards achieving our targets. As such, I will, of necessity, repeat aspects mentioned in earlier articles.

The work to be considered falls into two categories: the individuals and the business itself.

In this month’s article, I will consider what needs to be done for the individuals within a practice and in my next bulletin I will discuss the business elements.

The individuals
All advisers need to reach level four by December 31, 2012, so there are two distinct routes to look at meeting this requirement via the new format or the existing format plus the gap-filling.
There are several ways of satisfying these rules although the gap-filling option only applies to those who have satisfied the level four criteria in terms of examination qualifications.

There are also several institutions able to help firms - the CII, the IFS, Aifa and the newly-launched Calibrand, which is endorsed by the IFP. We’ve decided to maintain our link to the CII/PFS simply on the basis that we are “almost there”. Each business will need to review the offerings of the various bodies and decide on the most appropriate format.

In our case, we have established (for each adviser) the particular exams to be passed in this calendar year, when - hopefully - all the examinations requirements to level four will have been met.

Running alongside this requirement is the gap-filling.

This can be quite problematic but, in our case, the process is:

  • Record the 132 Learning Outcomes identified in the regulations.
  • Account for the past exam successes within this.
  • The difference is the gap-filling requirement.

Certainly, in the case of the CII/PFS, this is done automatically for you - all advisers can go to the website and obtain details using their own PIN.

In terms of meeting the gapfilling requirements, more help is at hand, including:
1: Future CPD will clearly label the “learning outcomes” involved.
2: This will apply whether it is done by means of seminar or computer based training.
3: If the area of study covers a range of learning outcomes arranged within one exam subject, it might be more efficient to consider taking the new-style exam.

In each case, the gap-filling records need to be:

  • Agreed with each individual adviser, both in terms of

1: ’What’ is undertaken and
2: ’When’ it needs to be completed by.

  • Updated on a regular basis. I now have an individual record for each adviser:
  • Exam credits in each relevant section (certificate and diploma).
  • Where there is a shortfall, an agreed target completion date is recorded.
  • In terms of gap-filling, all 132 learning outcomes are recorded (via CII/PFS website) as ’Met’ or ’Outstanding’.
  • I am currently preparing a schedule for each adviser as to how to cover the ’outstanding’ gap-filling, bearing in mind I need to agree with each individual:
  • The particular learning outcomes and
  • Whether this is met via exam or other structured CPD.

When everything is in place, fully satisfying the level four and gap-filling needs, don’t think that the matter ends there:

This will demonstrate that competence is achieved but you also have to demonstrate that competence is maintained year on year.
It follows that a maintenance policy needs to be established.

In addition, remember that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that level six will be the revised target for advisers once the RDR is fully functioning.

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