The Chartered Insurance Institute has been forced to defend itself against suggestions by the qualifications regulator Ofqual that the accredited body’s level four qualification is not robust enough.
Money Marketing has seen a copy of a draft report from Ofqual which sets out the findings from a review it has carried out into level four qualifications for retail investment advisers.
The review was prompted by concerns from some accredited bodies about the way other bodies are assessing advisers. Ofqual decided to review how the various level four qualifications assess advisers and whether learning outcomes are met.
The report says: “We found the CII level four diploma in regulated financial planning did not cover a number of assessment criteria in the following units: R01 financial services, regulation and ethics; R02 investment principles and risk; R04 pensions and retirement planning and R05 financial protection.”
Ofqual added the specimen multiple choice papers submitted by the CII included a question that is “unclear with a lack of plausible distracters”. A plausible distracter is an option listed alongside the right answer that is easily identifiable as being the wrong answer.
The report notes that in response to Ofqual’s feedback, the CII agreed the specimen paper did not assess all the relevant criteria but said this was covered off in the live examinations. The CII has also reviewed the unclear question and says it has a process to flag up a lack of plausible distracters.
CII chief operating officer Jamie Heath says: “The two points Ofqual raised about the CII were minor ones, and we sent it back evidence to show these points were addressed. Not all the learning points would necessarily be covered in one paper.”
The report also criticised the Edexcel level four certificate for financial advisers. Edexcel is owned by Pearson.
The report says: “The specification for the Edexcel level four certificate for financial advisers stated ‘this qualification is for people working as financial advisers aged 16 and above, who are capable of meeting the required standards’.
“With the requirements of the RDR we judged this could be misleading for learners who study the Edexcel level four certificate for financial advisers expecting to be awarded a licence to practice qualification, approved by the FSA.”
The report also criticises the ifs School of Finance, saying: “For the ifs level four diploma for financial advisers – unit 1: financial services, regulation and ethics, we found that several of the multiple choice question reviews in sample paper A appeared to have a lack of plausible distracters.”
An Edexcel spokeswoman says: “Ofqual’s report demonstrated that the Edexcel Level four certificate for financial advisers is fit for purpose, rigorous and meets the industry requirements for retail investment advisers. We have, as requested by Ofqual, clarified further on the specification that the exam is not intended to be used to satisfy the requirements of the RDR. Ofqual is now entirely satisfied with the specification.”
An ifs School of Finance spokesman says: “The Ofqual review was based on specimen papers and we have addressed the minors issues raised to their satisfaction.”