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Clear route to take on challenge

Peter Hicks, Head of the IFA channel, Fidelity FundsNetwork

It was a beer with Paul McMillan, editor of Money Marketing, that resulted in this, the first instalment of my diary, charting my progress towards QCF level 4.

I don’t need the qualification for my role at Fidelity, but I told Paul that I was thinking of studying for it so that I could experience first hand what many advisers in the industry will be going through. Earlier that day, I had met separately with two senior people from big IFA firms.The first one told me that any adviser who wanted to could get the exams easily, the second told me that he thought a large number of his firm’s advisers would leave the industry as they would not be able to get the exams.

I believe I might be typical of many advisers.

I turn 50 this year, have not studied for an exam since 1982 and have worked in this industry for 25 years. Before I first joined Fidelity in 1986, I even spent a couple of years advising clients on investments. Admittedly that was pre-regulation but I always enjoyed it. I have a demanding job that might make it hard to find time for studying but I don’t have too many time commitments. So I’m happy to accept MoneyMarketing’s challenge. It’s early days so this first diary is brief but here is how I’ve been getting on over the past few weeks.

Week commencing December 14: I was amazed at the trouble I had finding any appropriate information about the exams. I knew the details of the new qualification requirements weren’t finalised yet but I’m happy to start studying for exams that should be appropriate in light of the FSA’s “no regrets” policy. For someone like me, there needs to be a clear route, otherwise it won’t happen. It must be frustrating if you’re an adviser.
Weeks commencing December 21, 28, January 4: These weeks were spent recovering from Christmas, with no time for exams.

Weeks commencing January 11 and 18: I decided I really need to make an effort and make a plan. Looking through the CII website, it has all been updated with 2010 information and it appears that I can begin studying for the diploma. This weekend, I’ll be sending for learning materials and sorting out a study schedule.

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