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Professional bodies warn advisers over irrelevant CPD

Professional bodies have raised concerns that advisers are failing to complete “relevant and effective” continuing professional development and are failing to record activities in the correct way.

Under the RDR professionalism rules, advisers must undertake a minimum of 35 hours CPD each year, 21 of which needs to be structured.

Advisers are required by the FCA to keep CPD records that document how activities have met identified knowledge gaps. Accredited bodies carry out checks to ensure advisers are meeting standards.

Writing in Money Marketing this week, Institute of Financial Planning communications director Sue Whitbread says while advisers are completing the required number of hours of CPD, activities are often irrelevant to advisers’ ongoing development plans.

She says: “The reports I get from the IFP’s professional standards team is there is still a long way to go to ensure the CPD activities being completed are really relevant and effective. Our audits of members’ records have found in the vast majority of cases there is little or no evidence of any CPD plan or how the activities carried out relate in any way to the adviser’s ongoing competence or development plans.”

Chartered Insurance Institute director of financial services and insurance markets Steve Jenkins says the body has identified some recording issues.

He says: “In some cases advisers are struggling to record their CPD correctly and demonstrate that the activities are a solution to a specific, identified need.”

Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford says: “Making sure all CPD activities are relevant is quite a challenge for advisers as 35 hours is a huge amount of time.”

Our free CPD Centre, powered by technical division Taxbriefs, acts as a one-stop shop offering acredited independent CPD linked with specific learning objectives which can then be tested and logged on the platform. Go to to sign up and join the 6,000 advisers using it. 


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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Professional Bodies need to ensure that they do not become just another parasite on the adviser community. The idea that advisers need to spend 35 hours on CPD seems excessive. Is that for the benefit of advisers or those that sell CPD services?

  2. Gary you must be short on CPD 🙂

  3. It’s for the benefit of the customer. 35 hours over a 12 month period averages out at 40 mins a week, it’s not the time Mr Bamford but the relevance of the activity that’s the challenge.

  4. Who decides what is relevant? It must be the individual involved and he needs to make a case for its relevance. The case is made if his or her “plan” is to keep updated on all investment/pension/protection developments. Next question please.
    As far as the time involved is concerned, sorry Seamus but it’s a bit more than that. For a two hour chunk of CPD you might find yourself travelling for an hour plus, then waiting for the event to start (one I attended recently started about a half hour after the appointed time) and taking a some time to speak to colleagues (often the most practically useful part). 35 hours plus add ons is, as Martin Bamford says, a long time but not beyond our reach.

  5. Odd isn’t it that when one attends an event or seminar laid on by your SPS provider it seems that it is automatically relevant. Unlike lesser mortals the requirement for a CFP is 50 hours. The great majority of which (in my case) are structured. This involves paying for the various seminars. Too often these seminars (paid for or free) are just an opportunity for a provider to flog his wares, for which they too have to pay!

    If not that, then not infrequently it’s just a load of hot air. (A topic in which I consider myself expert and in no need of CPD!)

    That’s not so say it applies in every case. There are presentations that are valuable. For me one of the stand-out events is the quarterly Investment Intelligence seminars provided by Invesco Perpetual. And they provide a decent breakfast and the whole thing is free! My only criticism – too short, I’d gladly pay for a full or half day.

    However I often wonder why, after a mind numbing 5 hours of Ethics, it is necessary to revisit the topic each year. Do ethics change? Are memories that short? It is a sad reflection of modern society that it is considered necessary to teach adults right from wrong. But then I have already been accused of being out of touch. Perhaps to be in tune with the modern world I need to lie, cheat and be in debt.

  6. Most exams have a 60 hoiur or so CPD study time so one relevant exam a year theoretically over achieves that requirement. I passed 2 last quarter so can I be left alone to get on with the job my clients PAY me to do now please which is ADVISE them?

  7. I don’t really have an issue with the CPD requirements, the industry is constantly changing so keeping on top of things is a requirement for us all. I do, however, have a problem with the fact that a SPS certificate is a mandatory requirement of being an adviser and some body out for a profit requires me to pay them £77 for the pleasure of receiving an email with a PDF attached to it.

    Rant over………………………………………….my opinion as usual.

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