View more on these topics

Higher learners

Regulation, like many things, is cyclical. Light-touch, prescriptive, principle-based, outcome-based – and now “a regulator to fear”. How many times have we heard these phrases in the past year or two? Does regulation drive market behaviour or is it the reverse? I’ll let you decide.

Someone once said that the only thing that is constant is change. We certainly see plenty of that in financial services and change that is wider than regulatory.

While change can bring unwelcome costs, it can deliver positive outcomes. In just the past few weeks, aspects of the Budget and the outbreak of swine flu have changed the landscape for financial advice and created yet further need for professional advice – and not just for the very wealthy.

Budget changes affect most of an adviser’s clients and the threat of a pandemic immediately affected a sensitive stockmarket still experiencing volatility from the unsettled economic climate.

Advisers rise to these challenges again and again. Getting to grips with the tax changes, identifying which clients are affected, reviewing financial plans and recommending adjustments to ensure clients’ objectives are still on track are all in a day’s work.

Clients also need reassurance as uncertainty in these troubled times means that even the financially astute want that extra comfort of discussing their affairs with an experienced professional.

Advisers are rising to the challenges of changing regu- lation and, in particular, those driven by the retail distrib-ution review.

The latest figures from the Chartered Insurance Institute confirm that there were 8,845 bookings for the CII diploma exams in April (up by 35 per cent from April 2008) and already over 2,000 bookings have been taken for the July and October sittings. Combined, this represents 85 per cent of the total 2008 bookings for diploma and these figures only relate to the end of the first quarter.

Also of significance is that the movement is not just regulatory- driven. There were 1,400 bookings for the CII advanced diploma exams in April and again members are already booking October exams.

In total, over 3,000 candidates already holding the diploma are on the path to becoming chartered financial planners, which will add significantly to the 1,600-plus that we already have.

What is especially encouraging is that this drive to higher professionalism is not isolated or confined to any particular sector of the adviser community.

Product providers, adviser firms and banks are stepping up the plate to help advisers meet the challenges.

In partnership with the CII and Personal Finance Society, a plethora of corporate schemes have, and are continuing t o emerge, offering both financial and learning support.

All this adds up to an unprecedented drive towards higher professional standards that demonstrate to the FSA, Government and, most important, the general public, that we are serious about our profession.

I would like to leave you with a quote I came across recently.

“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change”

Fay Goddard is chief executive of the Personal Finance Society

Recommended

Developed country inflation falls in March

Annual inflation in the Organisation for Co-operation and Development (OECD) area fell to 0.9% in March, according to figures for the month from the OECD Consumer Price index.Consumer prices in the region rose by 0.9% in the year to March 2009, compared with 1.3% in the year to February. Month-on-month, prices rose by 0.3% in […]

Weather eye

It may be considered sad to be on holiday and thinking about the financial services market but I have to admit that it did cross my mind on a recent trip to Florence.

Adding complexity

Noise about the retail distribution review seems to have subsided as other matters are beginning to shape the distribution of UK financial services.

Neptune India: three stocks we’re buying & the one we’re not

By Kunal Desai, Head of Indian Equities The Neptune India Fund’s investment process serves as a key differentiating feature of the portfolio versus its peers, contributing to its significant outperformance under Manager Kunal Desai’s tenure. Focusing on industry disruption, accounting quality, liquidity and corporate governance, Kunal sets out three stocks that he’s buying in the […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com