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‘Bridge the exam divide with CPD’

The Association of Independent Financial Advisers is calling on the FSA to allow advisers with qualifications made up of QCA level 3 and 4 components to bridge any gaps with CPD.

It is also urging the FSA to consider partial legacy qualifications and alternatives to examinations in more detail.

Last week, the FSA revealed that all components of advisers’ qualification must be accredited to at least QCF level 4 in order for knowledge gaps to be dealt with via CPD. Currently some QCF level 4 qualifications contain both level 4 and level 3 components.

The FSA says it will not be able to confirm what the new QCA level four qualification will contain until the end of the year. It expects bodies to have exam offerings ready for advisers halfway through 2010.

Aifa director of policy Andrew Strange says the trade body is concerned for advisers that hold only partial qualifications.

He says: “Some examination frameworks have historically comprised of both examinations at levels 3 and 4. FSA also does not consider partial qualifications in legacy examinations. “We would not expect advisers who have followed the no-regrets policy to have to take further examinations.”

But the FSA says the requirement for all components to be accredited at QCF level 4 is essential to deliver a step-change in standards. It also confirmed it is considering a competency-based assessment as an alternative to exams.

Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard welcomes the FSA’s clarification and says: “Firms and advisers need to know where they stand when selecting a route to the qualification and they will now be able to make an informed choice.”

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