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Exam revamp could raise FPC standard

A major shake-up of IFA exams could see FPC status become more difficult to obtain.

Raising the standard for the Financial Planning Certificate is one of the

options being considered by the FSA and CII in a revamp of the system. They

are also looking at the possible introduction of an exam between FPC and

AFPC or breaking AFPC into chunks.

The moves are part of a drive to bring the exams up to date and see more

people become professionally qualified.

The FSA sets the standards and the CII translates them into exams.

Many IFAs find it hard to make the leap between FPC and AFPC. Around

105,000 IFAs and tied agents have passed the benchmark FPC while only 6,000

have passed at least three AFPC papers.

The regulator favours a modular approach to all exams, says Aifa. Modules

make it easier to switch sectors, given the increasing amount of crossover,

for example, with IFAs giving more investment advice.

The FSA originally looked at having one exam for the whole financial

services sector from banking to bullion but Sofa says it found difficulty

in designing an exam to encompass the industry.

A complete overhaul of the system is unlikely before the introduction of

the Financial Services and Markets Bill later this year. The CII is already

running a pilot scheme which splits the AFPC modules in two.

CII PR manager Steve Radford says: “We are looking at evolving the system

in tandem with the FSA. We favour a stepping-stone approach to make the

transition between the exams easier.”

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