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Exam retests every two years and alphabet soup to be axed

IFAs will face exam retests every two years to retain authorisation, with retakes for those who do not pass the exam on their first attempt, when the FSA exam review findings are implemented next year.

In its feedback to industry responses to DP9, the examination review, the regulator also confirmed it still intends to scrap the so-called alphabet soup of designatory letters, replacing them with a single standard recognisable to customers.

There was nothing new in the paper other than to confirm that the FSA will push ahead with its plans for reforming the exam regime. By July next year, internet-based exams will be in place both for new and existing advisers.

The FSA says the core test for entrants to the market will be relatively compact, with additional modules for speciality or new product areas delivered by competing private providers.

Existing IFAs will be obliged to take a test every two years. Any weak areas identified by the results will lead to training and retesting.

The FSA&#39s next step is to release the results from research involving consumer focus groups at the PIMS industry conference next month followed by a consultation paper in September.

The FSA also says it will keep an eye on what CP121 and the Sandler review have to say about industry standards.

Head of industry and training David Jackman says: “We hope we are producing a model which will last. My efforts will be to make the new exam regime as efficient and slick as possible.”

LIA director of public affairs John Ellis says: “The designatory letters cannot probably be reduced down to one standard. If you look across the board, it would be difficult to see a single standard which works and is recognisable to consumers.”

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