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RDR Benchmark set at QCA level four for all investment advisers by 2012

All investment advisers, whether they fall under the independent or sales advice channels, will be required to achieve a QCA level four qualification by December 31, 2012.

There may be higher qualifications required where advisers are designated specialists in specific areas, subject to further consultation.

An independent professional standards board will take on responsibility for ensuring advisers hold the relevant qualifications.

The FSA says there will be little variation in the qualification requirements across the sector.

The report states: “We do not see any reason to apply different professional standards to individuals giving advice, whether in the independent advisory sector or otherwise, if they are performing essentially the same role. So we anticipate that the same professional standards should apply to similar roles.”

The FSA says it will further consult on setting the benchmark for new entrants at degree level.

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