In its third professionalism paper, published today, the CII proposes that the diploma’s core subjects include fundamentals, products and their uses and personal financial planning.
It says the fundamentals subject should include UK financial services, regulation and ethics, investment principles, risk and advice and taxation.
It adds that products and their uses should encompass debt, protection, investment and pension products.
The CII says candidates should then choose from a range of ten additional modules that allow them to tailor their qualification to their area of work.
These could include pensions and retirement options, advising on pension transfers, equity release, long-term care insurance and supervision in a regulated environment.
The CII says higher-level options could also be offered such as business financial planning, advanced trusts, specialist investment products and advanced mortgages.
The CII says the level four qualification should require a minimum of 370 hours of study in total, consistent across all qualification providers to “prevent arbitrage between awarding bodies”.
It is also looking at various testing methods, including multiple choice, short answer and essay-style questions.
CII director of financial services markets Stephen Jenkins says the proposals are a marker in the sand for the benchmark of level four qualifications.
He says: “We want people to follow specialisms that reflect what they do in their everyday job, built on a base of core knowledge. What we will be doing going forward is developing transitional arrangements to level four and above.”
Jenkins says he doesn’t believe the existing entry qualification, the level three certificate, will become defunct after the retail distribution review deadline in 2012, which requires all advisers to obtain level four.
He says: “It could be a stepping stone that people use to engage them in the industry, or for people performing back office roles. It could also have an application for roles that may not exist at the moment, such as guided sales.”