With the summer almost over, the focus is back on the world of work for most of us. Conference season is around the corner and there is much focus on “gapfilling” and the addit-ional work that many advisers have to do by 2013 to be absolutely sure that the RDR requirements are met.
It becomes a chall-enging exercise to set out a pragmatic suite of options for mem-bers to follow other than just a raft of Chartered Insurance Institute exams. Mapping existing qualifications is made harder by the fact that many have achieved their qualifications some time ago.
Even highly qualified advisers will potentially have a big number of gaps in their CV. This, of course, is where thorough, ongoing continuing profess-ional development activities are inval-uable. Recording learning activities is important but setting out how it has benefited the adviser is just as important. Proper structure and record-keeping is essential to ensure that the individual can easily tick off the aspects that will help them satisfy the FSA’s proposals.
This should be the time that advisers are scrutinising professional bodies. They should be asking how the bodies will support them, not only through the next two years but throughout their career. It should be a long-term relationship.
The Institute of Financial Planning should be viewed as far more than an organisation that just provides qualifi-cations. Conferences offer perhaps the best opportunity to see the capability of an organ-isation and the calibre of the membership. So many delegates who have attended confer-ences in the past report to us that they found it particularly helpful in setting their personal and business development agenda.
New relationships are made and businesses have bounded forward as a result. In addition to stimulating content and thought-provo-king speakers, the leaders in the profess-ion are present and in the main really happy to share their experiences and advice with others.
As we consider business transition, there is still so much to take in for firms planning ahead. Where do we start? Which platform should we use? What about Vat? How does cashflow modelling work? What is life planning? Will my clients pay fees and so on. Attending the IFP conference will help answer these quest-ions and establish some order in your timetable of change.
At the other end of the spectrum, experienced planners are considering how they can develop new strategies for clients and how they can work in a more effec-tive way. The role of the paraplanner, is, of course, at the forefront of m any people’s thinking and how this can be integrated more effectively. The Paraplanner qualifi-cation and training offered by the IFP will help with this issue. Experts from all over the world are at the conference and will share their insight and experience.
The conference is, of course, just an event. Most importantly, advisers and their teams need to consider what other benefits they can expect over the longer term from their professional bodies. As time ticks on, a little more invest-ment in relevant activity and support will make a huge difference and help us to develop our profession still further for the benefit of consumers, advisers and businesses alike.
Nick Cann is chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning