The Financial Services Skills Council is piloting a new exam testing the application of technical skills in the workplace which could reduce PI insurance premiums for advisers.
The qualification being tested covers the practical requirements of giving advice, for example, building rapport, fact-finding, analysing information and prioritising the customer's needs.
The pilot has £600,000 of funding from the Learning and Skills Council and is running with Zurich, Standard Life, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and the Teachers Group.
The FSSC says the scheme will open up opportunities for public funding as well as accrediting a process that already happens. It believes it will reduce the risk of FSA fines by creating industry-recognised standards.
Business development manager Michelle Sayers says: “Businesses can ensure advice is as professional as possible and can be assured that the system in their organisation meets industry standards.”
Collegiate marketing and project development director Fergus Chappel says: “This new qualification will not only enable IFAs to demonstrate their commitment to high-quality advice but could also provide professional insurers with a useful new underwriting tool.”