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No takers for CII RDR alternative assessment

The Chartered Insurance Institute has not had a single candidate for its QCF level four alternative assessment since its launch in May.

The assessment costs £1,950, compared with the CII’s diploma in regulated financial planning which costs £981 for members and £1,284 for non-members. A number of advisers took part in a pilot scheme earlier this year but since then no candidates have applied.

Candidates considering the alternative assessment must use a free diagnostic tool to test whether the assessment is suitable for them. If they decide to go ahead, candidates then have to submit a portfolio of evidence, including details of any relevant qualifications and continuing professional development.

Finally, candidates attend an assessment day with two trained CII assessors. The assessment day is based on four case studies and a technical interview to establish if the candidate has the required knowledge and skill levels.

Aifa, which launched an alternative assessment in April 2010, will not reveal the number of candidate applications to take the assessment. Aifa marketing and membership director Sophie Fiori says: “The diploma has been extremely well received by advisers and there continues to be a consistent and healthy number of applications each month.”

The QCF level five qualification is based on case studies at a cost of £665 for Aifa members and £695 for non-members.

Thameside Wealth director Tom Kean says he believes the cost of the CII’s alternative assessment is putting people off.

He says: “To be honest, I would not pay £2,000 for that service and I am sure there are a lot of other advisers out there who feel the same. It is not a surp- rise at all that there has not been any uptake.”

Jacksons Financial Services managing director Pete Matthew says: “I would imagine the price has got something to do with the lack of interest.”


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

  1. £2,000 for a test. Bit like cowboy builders who think they can rip people off, but have been seen through.
    God knows how much they were planning to pay the 2 assessors; maybe they were given the limousine treatment followed by a meal at the Fat Duck, chauffeur driven, quaffing champagne throughout the trip.

    It makes you wonder what kind of world the policy makers at the CII inhabit. It ‘ain’t a world I recognise.

  2. obviously designed and costed to drive everyone down the exam route and to be able to tell (con ?) the world at the same time that those who cant take exams have an alternative.

  3. Nobody should be surprised at this result. I am glad that nobody has been fooled. Yet again the financial adviser community is being subjected to what can only be described as opportunistic theft by a self appointed organisation that has not covered itself in glory these many past years.

  4. Smoke & mirrors dear boy, smoke & mirrors.

  5. Strange that price rather than quality seems to be the driver here. Without some independent measure how can we know which is the better qualification. Lets face it a Kia and Aston Martin, both are cars, but their price varies for a good reason.

    Maybe a better story is the number of advisers who are avoiding the exam route to qualifications by getting third parties to write their assessments!

  6. Nearly £2000 for such a lamentably inadequate method of obtaining QCF level 4 is harder to imagine.

    What is needed is a set of exams on each aspect of financial planning

    The tendency in RO2 I have noticed in the test papers and questions is to flit from one subject to another without moving in line with the chapters in the study book.

    This ensure that advisers focus is not concentrated on each aspect of the study material in a logical and progressive format.

    I noted that there were questions on Stamp Duty Land Tax in the last paper I took and failed to pass, but no tax rates are on the tax tables provided at the exam centres. This is another example of how the CII is ensuring that advisers might have to take these exams 2 or even 3 times before they suss out what is being done to them.

    We are just fodder to provide income to an organisation which deliberately tries to confuse the real issues of financial planning in a myriad of confusing tech speak and in the case of RO2 the major part of the examination seems to be more oriented towards fund management, not investment advice. We are not fund managers so why do we need to be able to calculate Alpha, Beta and Sharpe ratios for shares or know what standard deviation is, etc etc etc.

    Our duty to a client stems from assessing the suitability of a retail investment or protection product to the clients needs and circumstances.

    Knowing what the Beta Value of a particular share is has never been part of our remit under FSMA

    Simply put, the CII has failed miserably to compile a set of exams which truly measure our knowledge, the application of this knowledge and the efficacy of our advice and service.

    Just another sausage machine to get rid of the traditional IFA

  7. I can see why the CII have had no takers err your about 3 times the price of your competition and you have a reputation for making things hard.

    However, some of the exams are a joke. With one body you do 100% exam and on others you get one multuple choice exam followed by a report written at home (ie if your not too clever you can get someone to do it for you) following by a case study where you can guess the questions before hand and learn model answers (and get someone to help you).

    It’s interesting to see when you meet an adviser who fails CII exams consistantly and then moves on to another exam body and then suddenly passes first time. But of course there all the same level so must be the same !!

  8. The CII are a bunch of utter C – U – N – T – S

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