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Protest in prospect from 60% already studying

Aviva is warning that Aifa may face a backlash from advisers already working towards QCF level four.

Director of distribution development Stephen Gay says Aviva research shows that over 60 per cent of advisers are studying towards QCF level four.

He says: “I recognise that Aifa’s role is to look after the interests of its members but its energies would be better employed helping its members reach the QCF level four qualifications, rather than saying an A-level qualification is suitable for professional advisers.

“Our research shows that 61 per cent of advisers are already furthering their qualifications through studying at the moment and we have 4,759 enrolled in our adviser academy. Those people may not welcome Chris’s stance on this issue.”

Gay says Aviva would support work-based assessments if they are allowed by the FSA.

He says: “Qualifications are not just about exams and we believe there should be another route to QCF level four through work-based assessments. We would support them if they were of the same rigour as written assessment.”

Aegon says it does not support grandfathering in any form and believes all IFAs should have the QCF level four qualification.

Head of corporate affairs Francis McGee does not see a case for the grandfathering of existing advisers but he has sympathy for Aifa’s calls for
He says: “We do have some sympathy for carrots as well as sticks. We have in the past called for a system of regulatory dividends for firms that invest in delivering the RDR. If a business has committed to professional governance, raised qualifications for its staff, is holding increased money for capital requirements and has moved to adviser-charging then it is much less risky to the regulatory system than a business that has not. This should be reflected in the costs and intrusiveness of its regulation.”

In its response to the RDR consultation paper, Aegon calls for the FSA to focus on ensuring that the mass market has access to financial advice. It says the FSA should set up work streams, with industry representation, to consider how best to define simplified advice processes, modernise basic advice and develop more flexible advice models.

It also wants the FSA to reconsider qualification standards for simplified advisers to determine where QCF level three might be sufficient.

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