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Sales advice will need the same level of qualification as IFAs

The FSA has confirmed that sales advisers will require the same higher level of qualifications as IFAs under the retail distribution review.

At the Association of British Insurers’ biennial conference on Tuesday, FSA director of retail policy Dan Waters said an important part of building consumer confidence is raising the quality of advice. Referring to simplified advice and guided sales, Waters said: “People have asked me, are you going to require the same level of advisory qualification for people in such services. The answer is yes, and some people do not like that answer but I will tell you why we have landed on that page.

“We think, from the view of consumer communication, if you are trying to build a brand for advisers that is a profession, to say, by the way, here are some other people who are also advisers and will also be calling themselves advisers because Mifid allows it, is just a recipe for going nowhere in terms of trying to achieve those underlying objectives.”

Aifa director general Chris Cummings welcomes Waters’ comments. He says: “The FSA has shown it listens to the industry.”

Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard says: “I am very pleased there will be a level playing field, no matter what kind of advice firms are offering.”

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  1. Credit where credit is due
    for the FSA for getting this one right.A simple answer for “advisers” working towards level four to enable them to get experience would simply be adding the title “Trainee” to any not at a certain level so that the client would be free to ask what level of extra of supevision a trainee has and hence decide whether to accept a trainee or someone who is fully qualified/experienced. Something similar would work well if as reported elsewhere if a client has level four in some areas, and therefore is Dip, but does not have level 4 in an area they are moving in to (say mortgages to pensions or vice versa) Similar could be done then for advisers due to leave the indsutry due to retirement with an equally clear definition although I can’t think of one off hand and Trainee would give the wrong impression.

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