Industry sources believe the Chartered Insurance Institute could be positioning itself to step into the role of the Financial Services Skills Council if it fails to deliver.
The FSSC is being criticised for what many see as an inability to bring qualifications and exams to financial services.
Last week, the FSSC said there would be further delays to its exam review, saying it is now not scheduled to be completed until 2007.
One source points out that the CII's launch of its own new qualifications framework came out two days after the skills council announcement.
But CII qualifications development manager Paul Turner, who was recently recruited from the FSSC, says the CII is not in competition. He says: “We are carrying on with our review of our own exam structure regardless of what the skills council is doing. Our intention is to work with the skills council in raising the standards of the industry.”
Institute of Financial Planning chief executive Nick Cann says: “The CII has absolutely set itself up to take the reins if the skills council drops away. The CII is very commercial and aggressive. It has unique relations that the skills council finds hard to make.' One senior industry source says: “It is interesting the way the CII framework was rel-eased so quickly in comparison with the skills council. It is almost a competitive stance.
“There are a lot of dissatisfied stakeholders and the CII has impressed the industry, showing a much clearer understanding of the issues.”