Less than half of the 241 staff in the FSA’s small firms and contact division have a full financial advice or mortgage advice qualification at QCF level three or higher.
According to figures obtained by Money Marketing through a freedom of information request, just 17 of the 241 staff in the FSA’s small firms and contact division have a full financial advice or mortgage advice qualification at QCF level four or above. The division has 10 supervisors with full financial advice level six qualifications.
Of the 92 supervisors with QCF level three full financial planning or mortgage qualifications, 44 have the old financial planning certificate from the CII, three have the CII’s certificate in financial planning, which replaced it, and four have the ifs School of Finance’s certificate for financial advisers.
On the mortgage side, 30 have the ifs School of Finance’s certificate in mortgage advice and practice at level three and 11 hold the CII’s mortgage advice qualification, also level three. Three supervisors have a level four mortgage qualification.
Of its supervisors with full level six qualifications, the division has one Chartered Insurance Institute chartered financial planner, six staff with the
CII’s advanced financial planning certificate, two fellows of the CII and one associate of the Personal Finance Society.
One supervisor has the certificate of compliance regulation and one has the UK certificate in compliance.
Under the retail distribution review, the FSA is forcing all advisers to gain a QCF level four qualification by January 1, 2013.
In May, advisers called for the regulator to raise the qualifications of its own supervisory staff in line with the RDR changes.
Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planning managing director Rob Reid says: “This shows that not very many supervisors in the division are qualified to a significant level. It would be very hard to make a judgement about the advice IFAs are giving if they do not have any financial advice skills themselves.”
An FSA spokesman says: “Financial qualifications are not a prerequisite for employment in the FSA. The skill set for supervisors is different to that of financial advisers who offer advice to their customers on retail investment.”