Ben Arter Associates managing consultant Matt Giles says that while the firm traditionally puts experience first, the retail distribution review’s step change in professional standards means that qualifications are becoming the priority for recruiters.
Giles says he supports the industry’s move towards higher qualifications.
He says: “The ideal situation is for an IFA to be self-supportive in terms of business but with the RDR looming, qualifications are becoming as important. Now experience is becoming secondary to qualifications because people are going to have to aim for QCF level 4 and above.
“Some IFAs will strive to become better qualified and some will look to a network that helps them to satisfy the RDR requirements. Many will focus on business such as general insurance.”
Grayside Financial Services IFA Mark Edwards says: “I fully support the move towards higher qualifications, it is something that we are currently undertaking. However, I think it is very dangerous to discount experience completely.
“To lose that experience potentially all in one go as 2012 comes around could be a serious blow to the industry and leave those of us that are left behind with a credibility gap.”
Church Hill Finance principal Anthony Badaloo says financial advisers need people skills, which examinations are poorly equipped to assess.
He says: “I have worked alongside many people during my time in the business who are phenomenally academically skilled but they would have some very ill-served clients because they did not have people skills. Currently, in all the exams that I have done and seen, there has been no element on the people skills side of the business.”