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CII, LIA and Sofa link for IFA online testing

The CII, the LIA and Sofa are collaborating on a joint online testing facility and tutorial service for IFA firms, replacing each organisations&#39 own proposals.

The new competency system aims to satisfy the FSA&#39s desire for enhanced testing of IFAs outlined in its DP9 report, published last year, and the subsequent feedback statement this spring.

For a annual fee of about £50 per adviser, firms can have access to the range of compliance and competence tools from the three organisations and retake general and specifically targeted exams at their leisure.

The partnership between the three professional bodies will heighten speculation of a merger, rumours of which were prevalent among IFAs following the publication of CP121 in January.

The new system will rep-lace the LIA&#39s accredited fin-ancial adviser scheme, which was announced last year but was shelved following critical reaction from some parts of the industry, and the CII&#39s compliance and competency system. An LIA spokesman says the FSA has privately voiced its approval of the deal and that it may go a long way to addressing the regulator&#39s ideas on retesting.

CII director general Dr Sandy Scott says: “Maintain-ing competence is essential for the sector so that it can demonstrate its professional credentials to customers and regulators.

“I am delighted to co-operate with the LIA on this exciting project to deliver a single market-leading product that will satisfy the needs of businesses, individuals and regulators alike.”

LIA president Gavin Tiss-haw says: “We recognise that this can be best achieved by joining forces with the CII. We can then avoid duplication of effort and resources, allowing us to focus on developing the definitive solution.”

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