View more on these topics

A licence to skill

The Financial Services Skills Council is in the last stages of obtaining its licence as a qualified skills council, heading for a final meeting with its licence assessment panel on Wednesday this week.

FSSC managing director Teresa Sayers is confident that the licence will be approved, granting the organisation a new status that comes with a substantial injection of cash from the Government and propelling it into its next stage of development.

Sayers hopes this injection of funds and vote of confidence from the Government will help the organisation on its way to completing some of its objectives, principally the much-awaited exam review.

Heavy criticism has been levelled at the skills council over the past year for what many believe as intolerable delays in producing its review of the financial services exams framework, the backbone of the industry&#39s qualifications&#39 regime.

Responsibility for the exam regime was removed from the FSA almost exactly a year ago with the formation of the organisation but many IFAs say they have struggled to find any value in what has been produced by the skills council since the move.

With the industry waiting for implementation of the FSA&#39s move from an approved to appointed qualifications&#39 regime, the review is critical for awarding bodies to move forward.

Recently, as the skills council last month unveiled its plans for completing the exam review and implementing the new regime, it came under fire for what many saw as dumbing down the industry with planned exams that are multiple choice and provide no way of assessing advice skills.

However, Sayers, who took over from FSSC founder and former director David Jackman, has hit back at critics, saying they have done a “bad fact-find on this issue”.

She says that this particular argument demonstrates the confusion within the industry about what appropriate exams are going to encompass.

Sayers says the Skills Council is not being prescriptive on advice skills, or any other qualification. She says the qualifications themselves are entirely up to the examining bodies but is quick to add exams that do not show adequate assessment will not be deemed appropriate.

She says: “We are not going to allow new appropriate qualifications and do away with any element of types of assessment like case studies or work examples. We never said we would do that.”

“We have made it very clear to awarding bodies they will be expected to show how a candidate has been assessed in their ability to integrate knowledge and understand it. This is not something likely to be accomplished through multiple choice.”

Sayers says she believes in the move from an approved to appropriate regime, imposed upon the industry by the FSA, and is unapologetic about the time it is taking to undertake the exam review.

She says: “We are being realistic about the amount of work and resources it will take to conduct this review properly. There is a huge range of qualifications to look at. Currently, there are about 500 exams to review and it is important to do this right while managing the industry&#39s expectations.”

However, Sayers is quick to point out that the industry will not have to wait until the entire review is completed (expected to be 2007) to have a structure in place.

She says the perceived delays should not be a reason for people not to continue keeping their qualifications up to date as most present exams are to be considered appropriate. The skills council says it is looking to review the most important exams first.

Sayers says: “Prioritising is key. We have some ideas but we will not decide completely until we have consulted with the FSA and the industry so that we ensure we stay in line with industry needs and expectations.”

The skills council will launch this consultation on March 15 and is hoping to get industry feedback quickly so it can get to work with its new licence, Government funding and extra staff.

“This will be a quick consultation period, not like the drawn-out FSA consultations. We are anxious to get going,” says Sayers.


BSA agrees long-term fixed rates needs balanced approach

The BSA has welcomed the publication of the Professor Miles&#39 report into the UK Mortgage Market, which advocates a sensible and balanced approach to encouraging consumers to take out long-term fixed-rate mortgages. In particular the BSA welcome the recommendation to lower the minimum non-member funding limit for building societies. Professor Miles recognises that the UK […]

Small is beautiful for Ruffer

RUFFER INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT CF Ruffer Pacific Fund Type: Oeic Aim: Growth by investing in equities and bonds in the Asia Pacific region Minimum investment: Lump sum £1,000 Investment split: 34% cash, 16% basic materials, 12% non-cyclical consumer goods, 11% financial,9% cyclical consumer goods, 5% communications, 4% industrial, 3% utilities, 2% energy, 2% government, 2% other […]

Class act

Tsk, tsk, bottom of the class. The Diary can only speculate as to whether the quiz team of a downmarket rival knew what the acronym Isa stands for at the Penrose financial services publishing quiz in the City of London last week. The Diary&#39s team would have gone to commiserate the rag&#39s bottom placing if […]

NU says NAO conclusions are no surprise

Providers say they are not surprised by the outcome of the National Audit Office&#39s review of the Government&#39s £1.4m lifetime contribution limit cap published today. Norwich Union says it expected the NAO to largely agree with the Revenue&#39s estimates of who would be affected immediately and in the future by the implementation of pensions simplification […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers. Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and thought leadership.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm