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Dear Rob&Roderic…

Our resident agony uncles and The Ideas Lab directors Rob Reid and Roderic Rennison answer adviser questions

Q: I have decided that it’s too difficult to take my exams and so am planning to become an introducer and focus on protection business. What points should I be aware of to ensure that I get a good deal?

A: Rob: I think you should think again. There is still time to get to QCF level four and there are now sufficient alternatives in the market to enable you to find a syllabus that meets your needs. If you achieve QCF level four, you will be left with more options and are likely to earn at a higher level.

A Roderic: I agree with Rob but if you do go down the introducer route, you need to be clear what is involved and should ensure that there is a clear written agreement that sets out your role. You should also, I suggest, obtain independent legal advice, which you should ask your firm to pay for.

Q: My firm is planning to move to an employed adviser model and I and other self-employed advisers are being encouraged to move to the new contract. Should I agree to do so?

A: Rob: I would not agree to do anything unless your firm has provided a detailed comparison of the two options with the pros and cons. You should also be provided with independent legal advice.

A Roderic: I would also make the point that there is a cultural aspect that you need to consider. Becoming an employee implies that you will be operating in a more controlled environment and you need to decide if you can work on this basis. You need to be reassured that there are compensating benefits to making the change.

Q: I am keen to get my advisers to level six, not just level four. What points should I be aware of and what are the benefits that I should be advocating to my advisers?

A: Rob: The main point is what I would term “hearts and minds”. You need to be clear in your own mind what you see as the benefits and test them to ensure that they are robust before you approach your advisers.

A Roderic: In addition to the points made by Rob, you need to be clear which examining bodies offer access to level six qualifications and you need to ensure all those starting their studies use the examining body that you have selected. One further point – not all your advisers may necessarily want to study to attain level six. This is not necessarily a bad thing if you have different client propositions that may allow you to have advisers with different skill sets and levels of qualifications.

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