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Sesame pans oral exams

Sesame has warned that the FSA’s plans to allow oral assessments for QCF level four will not do enough to recognise advisers’ skills.

The IFA network is concerned that RDR proposals for alternative assessments, such as oral exams, to reach the benchmark qualification will not “recognise the wealth of knowledge, skills and experience that exist within our profession”.

Sesame executive chairman Ivan Martin says: “The regulator’s concession of an oral examination falls short of what we feel is required. We will be maintaining our campaign for practical and workable solutions.”

Sesame also hit out at the decision to ban factoring and says the alternative may be pension clients being left with a loan agreement to pay for advice they have received. It is also concerned that after commission is banned, IFAs could be limited to just dealing with high net-worth clients.

Martin predicts more than 20 per cent of IFAs will leave the industry as a result of the RDR. He says: “At over £600m, the costs are already huge but underestimated. Costs for all IFAs are going to rise materially and this could drive many advisers out of the profession.”

He also criticises the FSA for failing to introduce a long stop for complaints against IFAs, arguing that open-ended liability will be “an unfair and unacceptable burden on all professional firms”.


Employee benefit firms in merger

Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt are to merge to create the world’s biggest employee benefits consultancy. The new firm is to be called Towers Watson & Co, with Watson Wyatt chief executive John Haley becoming chief executive and Towers Perrin chief executive Mark Mactus becoming president.

Morning after

The second quarter of 2009 saw a strong recovery in risk assets as fears of systemic failure in the financial system gave way to hopes that economic recovery is imminent.


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