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FSA considers new specialist qualification for advisers

The FSA believes there is scope for advisers to have specialist qualifications where they are advising on non-mainstream products.

In its discussion paper on product intervention published today, the FSA says it could introduce a requirement for a specialist qualification and limit advisers qualified to a minimum level to advising solely on more mainstream products.

The Training and Competence sourcebook already imposes set qualification requirements on long-term care products, pension transfers, and equity release mortgages.

The FSA says: “On the same basis, where we are concerned about the potential for certain non-mainstream products to lead to poor customer outcomes, we could introduce a new requirement for an appropriate qualification in addition to the qualification requirement for the mainstream activity, such as advice on packaged products.”

The regulator believes this approach could work alongside the idea of banning non-advised sales for certain products.

The FSA says it welcomes views on which activities might be defined as specialisms to be included in any additional qualifications.


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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Pull out pin.
    Stand well back.
    Count to 10….and

    Off we go again!!!

  2. Fine as long as anybody regulating me has the qualification as well.
    It will happen when hell freezes over!!!

  3. And after you get the new qualifications……

  4. Here we go again, more, more, more. We will then need to pay to have our new and existing qualifications verified and re-registered each year.
    I need to get a life and find a new industry to work in.

  5. Lets hope the TSC sends the FSA away to think again. If this is how regulation is going to be going forward it will simply not be possible to run an IFA business.

    Nor is there any point in investing time and money in a business where sooner or later one regulation will put you out of business.

  6. Fraser Brydon - IFA 26th January 2011 at 9:07 am

    Why are they saying this now, should have happened years ago and maybe the banks would not have had the lion’s share of complaints for poor advised sales – of course they want to rack up qualifications the cynic in me believes it’s for the money, but will be for the good in the long run so let’s welcome it.

  7. What is the problem with this would you want a doctor who is GP diagnosing a heart condition and operating on you? I doubt it so specializing should require the specific qualification, that’s the whole point on CPD its continued development not sit the FPC in 1996 then do nothing. Other professions undertake training and exams not just turn up to a few seminars each year for a free bacon butty.

    I think most guys who specialize have the relevant qualifications in their field, the morons complaining on here are obviously the type of people who we need out of the industry, they are just lazy proclaiming to be experts with nothing to back it up

  8. There are some people I have known that could be labelled “professional students”. It starts to feel as though the FSA want to bring that classification into the IFA market.
    I don’t believe anyone ever objected to the niche market exam (though some may question the quality and actual relevance of some of the exams), in principle it makes sense.
    But in the context of the qualification regime proposed by the FSA for RDR, and the Continuing Competency Regime it starts to feel as though we are becoming permanent students, and see clients from time to time as work experience.
    21 hours a year of structured CPD doesn’t sound like a lot – but after 10 years of attending such lectures etc, precisely how much additional information are you likely to take on board (bored?).
    I suppose one could use the 21 hours to take lots of niche exams.
    But the base question is “Do exams actually make better advisers of advisers, and do clients obtain value for money, as they ultimately will be paying by higher fees?” There is little research on the correlation, merely a lot of assumptions. Just like we all used to assume the earth was flat, not all assumptions are true.
    Remember that there are regulatory and disciplinary panels for accountants, solicitors, doctors etc, so qualification is not a panacea for all our current ills.
    It could actually be a “bad thing” for the populace if it makes us so exclusive and arrogant that it moves us away from the real world. Actuaries are now feeling the pressure of over specialisation with the virtual demise of the Defined Benefit Scheme.
    I have nothing against specialist exams, but perhaps we should take our time and find out if the consuming public have any genuine interest. Wouldn’t it be very interesting if the main result of the RDR enforced increase in qualification was for the public to become alienated from the “over qualified, over charging, bumptious IFAs”. There are a lot of people commenting on the desirability of exams in a rather self obsessed manner, that suggests that inter-personal abilities are rather low down the scale. We should perhaps remember that the outcome is actually more important than the process.

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