The debate around RDR qualifications has so far centred on getting to QCA level 4 and then whether to opt for certified or chartered status if you opt to go for a higher qualifications.
However, a new publication from the Personal Finance Society has raised the issue of where to go if you have already reached this level.
The latest Professional Direction paper from the PFS, Life Beyond Chartered, explores the extra qualifications that chartered financial planners and holders of the CII’s advanced diploma in financial planning can gain to differentiate themselves from their peers.
It points out that Fellowship of the PFS may be the obvious next step after achieving the advanced diploma, but there are also alternatives such as university degrees and industry specific qualifications in areas such as trusts and estate planning.
The paper suggests that gaining an undergraduate degree from a university may suit those who have no degree. Chartered financial planners may be given credits towards the completion of a degree, so that they could be fast-tracked in as little as 12 months.
Those who are able to study at postgraduate level have the option to progress to a Masters degree, which is the equivalent of QCF level seven. The final step through the university route is the Doctorate, which involves undertaking an original piece of research that is written up as a thesis.
Specialist qualifications offered by bodies such as the CII, which includes the PFS, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and the Society of Later Life Advisers also provide ways for chartered financial planners to top up their existing qualifications.
CII head of technical services Rebecca Prestage says: “We have seen an increase in requests from people about what can they do beyond chartered status because the RDR has raised the bar for everyone. Many people already do industry specific exams as a route to chartered status, and we give credits for those. But we are finding that the Masters degree is becoming more popular, as it is one step up from chartered status or a degree.”