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Diploma likely to be minimum standard

Advisers will probably have to reach diploma or equivalent as the minimum standard, with the potential for higher requirements for specialist advice.

This week’s interim report says most respondents believe that a Qualifications & Curriculum Authority level 4 qualification, equivalent to diploma, is sufficient although focused advice may require higher minimum standards.

The FSA says it is considering making membership of a professional body mandatory although it has some concerns over competition law and the potential for higher costs being passed to consumers.

The FSA says its current view is that grandfathering should not happen although transitional arrangements will be needed. Many industry groups, including the Chartered Insurance Institute, have suggested a five-year maximum window to get qualified.

Threesixty Services partner David Brattesani says: “Grandfathering could work if it is supported by robust CPD systems capable of effective monitoring.

“We have to be careful not to view the professional bodies as dual regulators. They do not have the necessary resource currently to have a large impact across the whole industry at a regulatory level.”

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