CII’s alternative to exam will cost advisers £2,000

The Chartered Insurance Institute’s QCF level four alternative assessment is likely to cost advisers almost £2,000 – nearly four times the cost of its written exams.

PFS chief executive Fay Goddard says the professional body is piloting the alternative assessment in September with six IFAs, with the launch due in the final quarter of this year.

The CII says it is likely to cost around £1,950 but the price has not yet been finalised. It costs members £527 for written exams and £672 for non-members.

This compares with Aifa’s QCF level five case-study assessment, which it says will cost Aifa members £655, or £695 for non-members.

Aifa’s case-study-based exam was due to be available from August 1 but the launch has been delayed until September.

The CII alternative assessment will include submission of evidence such as existing qualifications and continuing professional development, plus an assessment day involving a case study, scenario discussion and a technical interview with a chartered financial planner.

Goddard says: “The alternative assessment will not be an easy option, advisers will still have to evidence the learning outcomes set out in the QCF level four framework.”

In June, the FSA announced that advisers will have to hold a statement of professional standing from 2013 to give independent verification that they are meeting new professional standards under the retail distribution review.

In July, Money Marketing revealed that many networks are considering applying for accreditation.

Goddard says networks that want to offer verification services must be leaders in professional standards.

She says: “If they meet the criteria, then they deserve to be there but it will depend on whether they are prepared to offer the same services that professional bodies offer and at what cost.

“There are benefits to belonging to a professional body as opposed to just a box-ticking CPD verification service.”