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CPD becomes CD

What is your favourite CD? The one you can sing along with? The one from the FSA on compliance essentials?

The FSA&#39s new CD training programme, Compliance Essentials for Financial Advi-sers, comes out this month. It aims to improve understanding of, and compliance with, the conduct of business rules and guidance relating to giving financial advice, as well as what to do for continuing professional development and complaints&#39 handling. Running time is around one hour.

Who is it for?

The material covered is relevant to all financial advisers, whether working on their own or as part of a team. It can serve as an introduction to the basics for advisers new to the business. For the more experienced practitioner, it can be a helpful refresher of the key principles underpinning the requirements.

Previously, training provided by the FSA has been primarily targeted at compliance officers. This is the first time the FSA has targeted its training support on compliance issues directly to the individuals required to comply.

What does it cover?

After a short introduction, there are eight self-contained modules:

Know your customer

Assessing affordability

Assessing a client&#39s risk profile

The suitability letter

Execution only transactions

Limited advice transactions

Continuing professional development

Handling complaints.

What will you hear?

You will hear a narrator talking with a supervision officer and a financial adviser about the key principles underpinning the requirements, common problems which super- vision staff find during visits and practical ways to demonstrate compliance. The instruction includes short interludes to illustrate key points. There are breaks between each of the modules so they can be listened to in one go, dipped into and revisited as you need.

The conversational “interview” aims to convey a technical subject matter in an easy to listen to way.

It covers the most common compliance problems around giving advice, CPD and complaints&#39 handling found by supervision officers on visits.

Reducing the occurrence of the most common problems would go a long way to helping the industry demonstrate much better standards of compliance overall.

Can listening to the CD count as CPD?

Yes it would, provided that the supervisor and the adviser are satisfied that it has met the adviser&#39s development needs.

Why this method of communication?

People take in information in different ways. Financial advisers are busy people, often in their cars travelling between appointments. Many have suggested they would find it useful to use this time to catch up with key information from the regulator.

Workshops, of course, provide for a two-way flow of information but not everyone can get to a workshop – the dates and venues, when and where they are held, might not be convenient. So, listening to a CD is a simple and convenient way of receiving information. The CD can also be played on a PC in the office so key information can be available just when it is needed.

Why issue the CD now?

The CD covers the essential aspects of compliance which apply under the existing PIA regime and will continue to be the basis of the FSA&#39s new regulatory approach. It provides a helpful overview at this time of transition.

How much does the CD cost?

A single copy will cost£38 (plus VAT), reducing to£35 per copy if you order six to 50. Industry Training can provide details of licensing arrangements and/or bulk discounts on orders of over 50 copies.

How can I get a copy?

Industry Training circulated details directly to firms at the end of June and the publicity information, together with an order form, is also available on the FSA&#39s website at

www.fsa.gov.UK

What other training is available?

A new series of workshops to help with implementation of the FSA&#39s new T&C regime has recently been launched.

The first six events, targeted at IFAs, were fully subscribed within days of the dates being announced and nine more events have now been scheduled to meet the very strong demand.

More details about these workshops are available on the FSA&#39s website.

Why provide training?

The underlying premise is that if people understand what they are doing and why, then there is less risk of mistakes occurring by accident or through ignorance and so the degree of control needed over their actions is reduced.

Rules, no matter how prescriptive, cannot cover every situation. So it must surely be better to ensure that firms and individuals are prepared to meet a range of situations through a sound grasp of at least basic principles and it must also be more cost effective to stop problems arising rather than dealing with the consequences after the event.

Prevention is better than cure and being proactive is part of the FSA&#39s new regulatory approach. As part of this approach, training combines with other regulatory tools, such as visits to firms, themed investigations, desk-based monitoring and enforcement action, to help firms to understand what we exp-ect of them and to improve compliance overall.

It is hoped that promoting a two-way adult dialogue with firms about what effective compliance is will lead to compliance being integrated into normal business practices, rather than being seen as a separate and unwelcome chore. This will be to the benefit of all concerned.

Listening plays an important part in that process and what better way to begin than getting the FSA&#39s new CD?

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