One of the aims of the RDR was to ensure financial advisers are appropriately qualified to offer advice to clients and it introduced the requirement of achieving a QCA Level 4 qualification.
Although the number of advisers has decreased significantly in the last 12 months, many advisers that achieved the new minimum requirement have taken the decision to increase their level of qualification. Last month the Chartered Insurance Institute reported a significant increase in the number of firms and individuals achieving chartered status, with 10 per cent of all individual members now attaining chartered this level.
To capitalise on this demand of higher level qualifications, Cass Business School, which is a part of City University London, is launching a part-time masters degree in wealth management.
The course is for advisers who have already achieved the CII advanced diploma in financial planning or the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s masters programme in wealth management.
Starting in September, it aims to expand CII and CISI members’ financial knowledge and develop their leadership and management skills. It will offer a fast-track route to enhancing their existing qualifications, enabling them to choose between completing the course within 12 or 15 months.
The CII has seen an increase of 11 per cent in the number of individuals making progress towards the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning, reporting 6,588 individuals the year ending April 2013 compared to 5,949 in April 2012. Cass has developed the course to cater for increasing demand for wealth management training beyond CII and CISI programmes.
Cass associate dean of the MSc Programme professor Andrew Clare says: “Higher education institutions have been slow to respond to the growing student and industry demand for specialist wealth management training. This course aims to take experienced professionals to the next level in their learning and careers.”
CII head of product marketing Niall Boyd says the degree is a fantastic opportunity for advisers to enhance their professional credentials and demonstrate their breadth of learning to clients, peers and the regulator.
He says: “Wealthy individuals are increasingly demanding the highest demonstrable professional standards from their advisers and attaching the names of Cass and the CII to a qualification immediately places it in the upper echelon of professional development opportunities.”
Yellowtail Financial Planning director Dennis Hall (pictured) believes advisers wanting to take on further qualifications past the required level four qualifications is a positive move.
He says: “The more qualifications you take the more you realise what you don’t know. Some of the courses are very narrow. If you are taking a degree level course you might be able to fill in the gaps.”
Chapters Financial director Keith Churchouse (pictured) says that within a few years time, level four will be seen as a bare minimum for advisers.
He says: “Although it is a great testament to our industry that so many advisers have moved to get to Level 4, they should be under no illusion that stopping there is going to be good enough. The reality is that they are going to have to keep going to meet new regime requirement. Anyone planning to stay in the industry ought to get used to the idea of a constant cycle of moving upwards.”