The National Skills Academy for Financial Services has developed a QCF level four diploma in investment planning tested through work-based assessment.
The Experience Counts qualification has been developed by the NSAFS and Corporate Training Partnerships and will be awarded by the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland.
The qualification will be launched formally if it is app-roved by the FSA in its delayed policy statement on professionalism. The FSA has not given a new publication date for the statement, which was initially due in December.
To be assessed via Experience Counts, advisers have to achieve a minimum score of 75 per cent in an initial diagnostic test. An assessor then meets the IFA at their office and matches evidence against assessment criteria set out in the syllabus.
Evidence can include records completed by internal managers qualified to QCF level four and FSA supervisors, a review of advice procedures and processes, continuing professional development records, qualifications and suitability reports.
The diagnostic test costs £100 and the assessment day costs £2,000. If an adviser fails the first assessment day, an additional day costs £1,000.
Academy chief executive Sylvia Perrins says: “With the full backing of our employers, we have developed an assessment meth-odology that allows experienced advisers to reach an appropriate qualification. This is our contribution to ensuring that the industry meets the needs of all its employees.”
CIOBS chief executive Simon Thompson says: “We know the great majority of existing advisers provide high quality advice to their clients day in, day out but some may struggle to dem-onstrate this in a traditional, written examination.
“This diploma will help such advisers demonstrate their commitment to the new RDR standards and their professional competence.”