The National Skills Academy for Financial Services has developed a diploma in investment planning tested through work based assessment to comply with the RDR.
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.
CIOBS is also behind Aifa’s alternative qualification, which is case study based.
Experience Counts has been included in the qualifications list to be approved by the FSA in its upcoming policy statement on professionalism.
If approved, the NSAFS will launch the qualification formally.
A minimum level of experience is required to opt for the Experience Counts assessment. A diagnostic tool establishes what level an adviser is at, with advisers who achieve a minimum of 75 per cent in the diagnostic able to to be assessed through Experience Counts.
An assessor then meets the financial adviser at their office and matches evidence against assessment criteria set out in the syllabus.
Evidence can include records completed by qualified supervisors, a review of advice procedures and processes, continued professional development records, prior qualifications and suitability reports.
Feedback will be given to the adviser on the assessment day. If evidence is still required advisers will be reassessed at a later date.
The diagnostic costs £100, with the first assessment day costing £2,000 and each subsequent day costing £1,000.
NSAFS chief executive Sylvia Perrins says: “With the full backing of our employers, we have developed a new assessment methodology 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.”
CTP chief executive Jayne Owen says: “We always believed there was a constructive alternative to written or verbal examinations to recognise competence. It has taken a concerted effort to reach this point and only with the wholehearted support of the NSAFS and CIOBS, for which we are very grateful, has this idea reached fruition.”
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 demonstrate this in a traditional, written examination. This diploma will help such advisers demonstrate their commitment to the new RDR standards and their professional competence.”