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Question time on exam cash

What has been gained by amalgamating the LIA with Sofa and producing something called the Personal Finance Society? The answer is, more money for the CII.

At a recent meeting I attended at the joining of the two organisations, it was clear that the finance director of the PFS, whose name totally escapes me, was all pro Sofa in so far that only those qualified with AFPC would be as named advisers if potential clients needed an IFA when calling the PFS.

If I recall, one had to have the AFPC qualification to join Sofa. That in itself portrays PFS as elitist. What is wrong with including those individuals with the LIA qualification MLIA(dip)?

Now we have been advised that a new designate is being introduced with a revamp of the original FPC, to be called certificate in financial planning. That would not be a problem but the old certificate will no longer cover all the current financial planning areas and no doubt it will not be long before we are told that we will have to resit some of the exams to retain the CertPFS.

In addition, the PFS and the CII have decided that lifetime mortgage activities and long-term care will require separate exams, namely CF7 and CF8 respectively.

What does all this mean?In a nutshell, more exams have to be taken and sat which costs more money and also takes more of an adviser’s time when he cannot be seeing and advising his clients. Someone has to provide the exams and guess who that will be? Yes, the CII.

What is the conclusion to all this. It seems that between the PFS and the CII, they require anyone in financial services to be qualified to their level, namely AFPC. There is nothing wrong with having qualifications but for those of us who have been in the industry for over 27 years, it seems that experience has no place.

The PFS talks about professionalism in the industry starting now. That sounds as if until now all the financial advisers have been totally unprofessional in their advice and approach to clients.

As a final thought, consider this. A solicitor sits his exams only once in his lifetime and the Law Society does not keep moving the qualification goalposts.

David ParkerConsultant, Langleys,

Bucks Cross, North Devon

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