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Food for thought on the menu of education

I would like to use your pages to correct some significant inaccuracies in the letter from David Parker regarding the exam framework.

First, can I reiterate that the merger document made quite clear the approach which would be taken on the Find an Adviser facility, namely that three AFPC subjects would be required. Members voted on that proposition and so Mr Parker should not be surprised that we are now implementing the manifesto that was set out in the merger document.

As far as the exam frame-work is concerned, it is not the CII which has decreed that the subjects should change and be added to. This was done by the Financial Services Skills Council following the FSA exam review.

From this perspective, the CII has no choice but to follow the requirements of the Skills Council if its exams are to continue to meet the needs of members of the PFS.

Let me be clear that there is no compulsion to take the additional modules although a big number of advisers are finding them a useful way of extending their knowledge and areas of practice.

We are now living in a world where change means that lifelong learning will be the norm and that may mean further exams – the extreme is the airline pilot who requalifies every six months.

Comparison with a solicitor is also too simplistic as they start their studies at degree level and then take further exams whereas FPC is at A-level equivalent. The solicitor is also required to follow CPD to stay up to date and will often do so by taking further professional qualifications, for example, those offered by Step.

The purpose of the CII and the PFS is to offer a menu of educational and development opportunities that members can use – or not, as they wish. It does seem rather unfair to criticise such an offering. After all, many members can and do want to engage in further study.

Bob BullivantDeputy director general Chartered Insurance Institute,

Chairman,Personal Finance Society

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