View more on these topics

Openwork advisers going off the road for RDR upgrade

Openwork is taking 1,200 pension and investment advisers off the road as part of a multi-million-pound upgrade of its advice process for the RDR.

In the first phase of a two-stage project, 1,200 pension and investment advisers will undergo an intensive training programme starting in mid-December.

Over a six-week period, advisers will receive up to four days training and supervisors up to eight days. Assessment will cover subjects such as customer outcomes, compliance and pro- duct selection.

There will be 26 locations nationwide for advisers to attend. Those taking part will be expec- ted to pass the assessment or retake it. Where possible, Openwork will give those who fail the opportunity to re-sit within 72 hours.

Advisers will still have to take separate RDR exams to reach QCF level four standard.

Following pensions and investments, the second phase of the programme will be extended to its 1,400 mortgage and protection advisers in 2010.

Openwork chief executive Martin Davis (pictured) says: “This is a vital stage of our plans to tackle the tenets of the RDR. We know some of the outcomes of the RDR already, such as the regulator moving from the sales advice process to an outcomes-based environment, and we need an advice framework that is appropriate and forward-looking.”


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 19 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Crikey! 30 years expereince in financial services and yet more exams… and all to sooth an ever extending, intrusive,pointless , Stassi -like compliance machine and it’s highly paid officials. Bring back Caveot Emptor….worked for years and cost nothing for the majority , whilst fools and their money were and still will be easily parted!

  2. Well said Mark Blenco – of all the blather that I have read on these pages this is the most succinctly put. My sentiments exactly!

  3. Is this the whole story?

  4. If you know what you are doing & have the experience why are you scared by simple exams? Exams are a great way to prove you can get the point across to clients quickly and accurately – plus you may learn something new, we all need continuous development

  5. Frank McCann - Openwork 19th November 2009 at 10:31 am

    The headline of the article makes it look as though we’re all coming off the road together which is why Anonymous asks if this is the whole story. This is not the case. As the article later states, training will be done over a 6 week period at various venues and is to be combined with the launch of our new point of sale system. Just thought I’d clear that up as two separate people have asked me the question already!

  6. Its not about the fact they have to take more exams its the principle of not acknowledging that people are capable and have been for a long time.

    How about we make you take your driving test again? just for the hell of it.

  7. Is Marc Blenco in denial?
    Life companies have paid out hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation to disadvantaged customers (not to mentions the tens of millions of pounds they’d paid in fines for mis-selling of endowments and pension transfers!).
    RDR will undoubtable reduce the risk to the public, the exams are easy for the right people. Those who can’t pass them should leave the industry now

  8. By ever extending, intrusive, pointless you mean you have to comply with the regulations like everyone else. Please retire, you bring the industry into disrepute.

  9. Peter the greeter 19th November 2009 at 10:43 am

    I just wonder if Openwork had an FSA visit and it was suggested that they don’t offer the level of support and training necessary. Wasn’t that always one of the benefits of a few days R & R down at King Edwards Place!

  10. Exams, possibly. Continuing Professional Development more realistic. How quickly the rules of Financial Services change, an exam case study in 2009, will be out of date in 2012. Does that mean those who passed in 2009 will have to resit in 2012? And how often the financial scandals are credited to those with the most qualifications?

  11. BRINGITON ... ... 19th November 2009 at 10:55 am

    Go MarkyB, Go MarkyB … …

    Yep, we have this Stassi-esque compliance machine simply because a ‘generation’ of salesmen … er, sorry ‘advisers’ … frankly took the p**s for so long. Pensions misselling /WPBs /Endowments/churning … do I need to go on … …??

    Reap what you sew, etc

    Aye, caveat emptor – let the buyer beware … … of poorly-qualified and non RDR-compliant ‘advisers’ … … all spouting gibberish

    If the ‘old-school’ mob/bank advisers are any good, I agree with Anonymous (10-20) … just do the exams and prove it!!


  12. Crikey I have 37 years experiance in financial services and totally disagree with mark blenco’s comments, it is our responsibility to prevent fools and their money being parted by improving professional standards.

  13. As a specialist working in the industry with firms across all sectors, they all have a ‘failure policy’ as part of T & C Schemes. It is a very foolish firm indeed who make available resits without first providing a suffiecient opportunity for remedial work whether the adviser wants it or not. Most of the firms we work with ensure that someone, either training teams or supervisors talk through the failure and coach the individual before a resit is taken. Otherwise they may well find themselves at an industrial tribual for unfair dismissal. I wonder if Openwork have thought about what they will do if a large percentage of their people fail, fail again and then again – in most firms the failure policy is three strikes and you are out – would be interesting to see what their T & C guidelines say, even more interesting to hear what the FSA would say if an inspection showed large failure rates and no action taken

  14. Philip Netherwood 19th November 2009 at 11:03 am

    There’s too much emphasis on exams that are as much about technique as knowledge. They make little difference to the advice many provide yet we are having to take them under the threat of losing our jobs! What happended to making allowances for firms with robust processes and supervision? RDR needs an urgent rethink if it is not to desimate the industry with the banks then no doubt filling the void (again) and where would be the consumer benefit in that?

  15. Let’s be clear – this is absolutely nothing to do with RDR! This is Openwork training their advisers how to use a new Point of Sale system, and making them sit assessments following a rap from the FSA. They’ve spun it to make it sound as if they are taking RDR seriously. As yet, we’ve seen no evidence that they have plans in place to get their 1200 financial planners up to QCF Level 4.

  16. I agree knowledge is only one element of the competence jigsaw. Knowledge acquisition does not gurantee that that knowledge will be applied with skill when dealing with the customer. That takes an adviser with the right sales process application skills but more importantly the right attitude to providing financial advice. Some advisers will still carry on doing business ‘the way they have always done it’, in their best interests not the consumers. Exams will do nothing to change attitudes.

  17. Looks like the old Allied Crowbar ‘Boot Camp’ in Swindon will have to come out of mothballs then.

  18. Why dont they wait until after the election before sitting exams.If the Tories get in they will probably scrap RDR just like Labour did with PEP’s to ISA’S

  19. From the perspective of someone who is still in the process of attaining Certificate status, my opinion is that RDR in its present form is likely to do more harm than good, for reasons which should be obvious to everyone.

    The average age of an IFA in the UK is already well above 50. I have spoken to many very experienced, honest and professional advisors, who simply don’t feel it is worthwhile taking 4 extra exams in order to enable themselves to extend their careers by a few years. Many I know are planning early retirement on January 1st 2013, so this is certain to be an industry wide problem should things remain as they are.

    For new advisors such as myself coming into the field, it will only serve as a deterrent in attracting new blood to the industry, a fact which can only be damaging in the long run.

    Furthermore, I’m not 100% clear on how a few extra exam certificates are supposed to win trust from consumers. Education is not correlated to ethics, as Bernie Madoff’s hapless clients discovered to their cost.

    And as for fee only advice? On your bike! We all know how much of a success that was when they tried it with pensions. Advisors stopped selling them. Reason? Clients didn’t want to pay a fee. Since joining my current IFA firm, not one of my clients have chosen the fee and refunded commission option. Reason? Costs less money, and that’s foremost in the consumer’s mind. “Fee only” and RDR rules in their present form are certain to profoundly damage this industry.

Leave a comment


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