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Sesame calls for FSA to clearly define alternative exam options

Sesame Bankhall Group has urged the FSA to set out a clearly defined alternative assessment route so that advisers can properly consider their options for gaining the QCF level four qualification.

In its response to last week’s consultation paper of delivering the RDR, Sesame Bankhall Group executive chairman Ivan Martin says he is increasingly concerned about the “lack of detail” surrounding alternative assessments.

The consultation paper proposed a more flexible approach to alternative assessments for QCF level four exams, with the FSA accepting that there may be more options available than simply an oral alternative.

Martin says: “With the continuing imposition of the 2012 deadline we are increasingly concerned about the lack of detail, which is making it very difficult for advisers to determine their approach to professional qualifications.

“The clock is ticking and there is no clear plan on alternative assessments, no new examinations and updated study materials and the ‘no regrets’ CPD gap filling requirements are also yet to be fully defined.”

Martin applauded the FSA’s proposal to keep the protection market free from adviser charging, but hit out at the FSA’s ban on factoring in the GPP market.

He says: “We agree that any discussion over remuneration should be between the adviser and their client, but this should not lead to the removal of factoring support by providers, as we believe this enables millions of people to benefit from expert guidance and thereby enhance their financial well being.

“There is still time to address this and we urge the FSA to consult the Office of Fair Trading on the benefit to consumers of allowing a standard, industry-wide factoring scheme, which would remove the risk of adviser bias, but avoid the damaging impact of a factoring ban on consumers and advisers’ businesses.”


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There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Ivan Martin is incorrect. It is not “difficult for advisers”…all we have to do is get the current Level 4 equivelent, for instance the CII Diploma, and the FSA has assured us any extra requirements can be made up through CPD. Just get the current Diploma, and no further exams are necessary.
    To my mind, the only ones that will find it difficult are IFAs that don’t actually know enough.

  2. This is silly – FSA doesn’t award qualifications.

    It’s for bodies that offer qualifications (CII, IFS et al) to design the detail of these and gain the accreditation – that’s why AIFA are talking to those bodies.

    FSA’s fault (on this specific issue) is that once it settled on Level 4 some 18 months ago, it should have left it open to such bodies to bring qualifications forward in line with the usual QCF criteria rather than fiddling around, making a meal of things, and only now retreating to what ‘level 4’ actually means.

    But beating one’s chest like this demanding FSA say what these exams are shows a clear lack of understanding by Martin.

  3. Ivan Martin is spot on – just 36 months before its arbitrary deadline expires, and having been forced by the sheer weight of opposition to back off of its untenable and outrageous proposals to force every IFA back into the examination hall, the FSA dinosaur (hopefully now in its death throes) is thrashing around for a way to square the circle on the qualifications issue.

    It should never have come to this.

    But then what can you expect of an organisation that rules by a combination of theory and fiat? The FSA never succeeds in making sound policy; it succeeds only in making a mess.

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