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FSA joins McDonald's RDR row

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FSA director of conduct policy Sheila Nicoll (pictured) has agreed with Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban’s view that advisers must raise their qualification above a diploma in shift management at McDonald’s.

In a Westminster Hall debate yesterday which addressed the RDR’s impact on advisers, Hoban said: “The current minimum financial adviser qualification is at the same level as a diploma in shift management offered by McDonald’s. The products that are being sold by IFAs are infinitely more complex and long lasting in their effects than a Big Mac.”

Speaking at a Chartered Insurance Institute RDR conference today, Nicoll said: “I know that Mark Hoban caused a bit of a stir by his analogy of present qualification to being equivalent to a diploma in shift management offered by McDonald’s. I know there has been a considerable reaction to that.

“All I would say is that is school leaving level really enough for professionals who are advising on people’s pensions, their investments for their children’s education and weddings, rainy day money, annuities and all sorts of very important and complex situations?

“I just think the simple answer to that question is that it is not enough. The new standard QCF level four is roughly the equivalent of the first year of a bachelor degree and we think this is the right minimum level of training and qualification for advising people on important decisions.”

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Readers' comments (72)

  • Probably a fair point but I wonder what level of qualifications Sheila Nicoll has?

    After all - they are the ones doing the regulating so should have at least the same qualifications as those they are regulating.

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  • Oh yes, and what level of qualifications do the F-Pack staff have?

    Normally not even road sweepers level!

    Apologies to road sweepers.

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  • I wouldnt disagree with those sentiments for someone new coming into the industry but are these idiots saying that the experience that I have gained from advising clients over the last 20 years count for nothing!

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  • Another pointless comment from a pointless individual. I'm yet to hear of a school leaver being authorised with his GCSEs so the idea they are the same level is laughable.

    Looking at Sheila's biography on the FSA website I see that she doesn't actually hold the FPC and has never worked in Financial Advice so presumably she has no idea what she is talking about. Incidentally Sheila's previous role at the FSA was Director of Retail Firms where she was responsible for the oversight of.....the banks. I would suggest Sheila pays more attention to actually doing her job and making sure she does a better job than her last efforts rather than talking about something that she has no experience in.

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  • I wonder what qualifications she has to be Director of policy conduct. Probably like the rest of the FSA nothing in Financial affairs

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  • So speaks the blind with no relevant experience whatsoever!

    One could assume a firms’ CPD regime would be entirely focused on those individuals who give such advice and ensure it is appropriate, compliant, fair, not-misleading, etc.

    We now need some more exams in 2012 to be able to do this.

    I'm off to knit the Emperor a new set of cloths!

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  • There's no show without Punch

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  • Shiela I suggest you resign as well,
    you are almost as arrogent as Hoban.
    37 years as an IFA with 3rd generation clients tells you what experience rather than just qualification can do.

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  • A member of my family is a midwife who is very well regarded at the hospital she works at. She has received several commendations from the health authority she works for, over the last few years, for her work on patient screening (for abnormalities) and setting up new systems and protocols.
    She teaches other hospital and community midwives.
    She is resposible for coordinating screeniing of 5,500 births every year.
    She counsels grieving parents.
    She speaks at conferences.
    Nowadays you need a degree to get into midwifery.

    She has two GCEs from her Secondary Modern school.

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  • if all an adviser needs to be competent is a qualification, why do we have CPD, audits, KPI's etc.
    Surely the FSA have enough information on levels of ability already.
    Isn't this new requirement for qualification just a money making scam?

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