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CII criticised on gap analysis

Advisers with an old Chartered Insurance Institute qualification may have to obtain a full RDR-approved diploma because the CII is preventing them from carrying out a gap analysis, according to IFA firm PageRussell.

Chartered financial planner Tim Page says the CII is refusing to make past syllabuses available online, which is stopping advisers from determining where the gaps in their learning are. In June, the FSA said advisers will be able to meet RDR requirements by plugging any gaps in their existing qualifications. Page says he has tried to access past syllabuses but the CII and PFS refused to supply the information, even for a fee.

The CII’s online tool to determine where gaps exist is not yet ready and when it is up and running it will only be available to CII and PFS members.

Page says: “Given the current practical barriers and probable costs of gap-filling, I think many advisers, through gritted teeth, will take the low-risk exam option. If nothing changes dramatically between now and January 2011, this is the option that PageRussell will take.”

A CII spokesman says past syllabuses from recent years are on the CII’s website now and older syllabuses will be available shortly. He says: “It is not that advisers cannot carry out gap-filling, they can do it manually, although I appreciate it is more work for non-members.”


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There are 12 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I encountered a problem recently when I applied to the CII for (prior learning) credit for a Level 4 Diploma from IFS Learning.

    I have been assured that the IFS Diploma is ‘RDR Ready’ but the CII have been very slow to award any credit. They have stated that the reason being that IFS do not advise in their material how much time is recommended for each of the 3 modules – instead providing an overall hourly study recommendation for the full Diploma.

    I am obviously keen to see what (if any) credit is available before committing to carry out further study with CII.

    Due to the problems I have had dealing with CII I have instead opted to take the STEP Financial Planning examination.

  2. The FSA’s “no regrets” policy is not working.

    Many thanks to Natalie for highlighting this issue in such a concise way.

    Anybody wanting to understand the issue in full should go to:

  3. We are not stopping anyone from carrying out gap analysis and to suggest otherwise is just nonsense.

    The CII have taken the publically available information provided by the FSA and developed a software tool that maps their learning requirements with our member records to idenify what gaps exist. Access to this tool is free to members and the subsequent CPD will also be provided free of charge. Most existing advisers with a level 4 qualification can expect to do very litttle to ‘top up’ their existing qualification and become RDR compliant. Stories such as this serve only to create divison and confusion amongst the adviser community and I would recommend that anyone who is unclear as to what is expected of them ignores the media and approachs either their professional body, their trade body or the FSA directly.

    For the record we post recent syllabuses on our website. These are freely available to anyone irrespective of whether they are members or not. Older syllabuses going back many years are in the process of being uploaded and will be available within the next week or so. Again these will be available to anyone at no charge.

    To conclude, the provision of the free gap fill tool and the subsequent free CPD is a clear member benefit. We will continue to evolve the gap fill tool over the coming weeks and months to provide our 27,000 members with a genuinely valuable means of meeting the challenges of the RDR. Individuals who are not PFS / CII members can assess their own gap by obtaining details of the requirements from the FSA and mapping this against their qualifications and CPD. Clearly such a manual approach is not ideal and for exactly this reason we have chosen to support our members and create a software tool that assists them.

    David Ross

  4. To David Ross – Can you make the Gap analysis tool available to non members (at a cost if necessary too) to those of us who have a mixture of different bodies qualifications can identify what we need to do to gap fill. I do not wish to choose a body simply in order to find out what I need to do to continue to trade post 2013…..

  5. Does anyone really know the minimum standard reqwuirement for RDR? CII are just trying to make out the barrier is higher than it actually is. They are looking for every IFA to pay for more exam fees and tuition. It is just a rip off so that they can obtain more money. Fay Goddard famously said that the CII are a charity is this why she and gold old Sandy and the rest of their staff are on big bucks?

  6. I have tried to access the Gap Analysis tool once a week for the last 3 or maybe 4 weeks, since I learned it has been made available … maybe I’m just an incredibly unlucky person, but each time I try I get a message which says it has been taken offline temporarily for essential maintenance.
    So I’m interested to see what the speaker at the PFS conference on Tuesday morning is going to say about this valuable member benefit – perhaps the maintenance will be completed by then and the tool will work for him!!!

  7. I have passed some JO modules in the past including JO1 – Personal Tax. As the JO1 exam is 20 credits, I assume it is more rigorous than the 10 credit multi-guess alternative available through the RO route.

    Imagine my surprise to find out that I am going to have to gap fill my knowledge for personal tax!

    Don’t believe me? Look at the guidance that the CII give (specifically the “Dave” case study)

  8. P***ed off IFA,

    The gap fill tool is FREE to PFS members.

    The subsequent provision of any CPD needed to fill that gap is also FREE to members.

    The FSA, NOT the PFS or the CII, are asking advisers with an existing QCF level four qualification to ‘top up’ their qualifications with CPD to get over the new benchmark they set. We are helping our members do this at no cost whatsoever to them.

    In raising the benchmark the FSA state they want all advisers to be qualified to QCF level 4. The CII have built a new RDR qualification that meets exactly the new specification defined by the FSA and the FSSC (Financial Services Skills Council). This new specification was established following consultation with “consumer and practitioner representatives, HM Treasury, trade associations, and relevant professional bodies and awarding organisations”.

    If you want to know more about the standards the FSSC provides an outline here:

    The CII is a not for profit organisation.

    David Ross

  9. Gillian,

    The Gap Fill tool has not been formally launched despite all the noise surrounding it in the trades and online – this is why you can’t currently access it.

    A pilot was available for a short time whilst we tested the technology and sought feedback from advisers. We then took the site down and incorprated this feedback into a updated version. We hope to relaunch this over the next few days. The tool will continue to evolve and we will work with advisers to provide more and more useful content over the coming weeks and months.

    Many thanks for your patience.

    David Ross

  10. Same question again to To David Ross – Can you make the Gap analysis tool available to non members (at a cost if necessary too) to those of us who have a mixture of different bodies qualifications can identify what we need to do to gap fill. I do not wish to choose a body simply in order to find out what I need to do to continue to trade post 2013…..

  11. To all non-members of the CII why should they make it available to non-members?

    This is one of the many benefits of being a member of a professional body (be it CII, PFS, IFP etc).

    If you want support join a professional body.

  12. Not for profit?

    I have (happily) completed my Diploma and decided the benefits of becoming a member did not outweigh the costs – for me, at this time.

    Now I (unhappily) have a gap to fill, however I have to pay to be a member just to find out what this is?

    I don’t understand how the CII will happily let you sit exams and hold a Diploma with them – but to try keep this hard-earned Diploma up to date I must be a member?

    Feels like my arm is being twisted to me!

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