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Sitting tight

Fidelity’s Peter Hicks finds room to begin studying around organising the launch of Anthony Bolton’s new China fund.

Since the first instalment of this diary last month, I have begun to look at study materials for the diploma. The study aids were easy enough to order but one thing that I do find odd is the seeming scarcity of exam sittings. Not that I am anywhere near ready to think about sitting at this stage but I had a look out of a combined curiosity and enthusiasm (probably brought on by shelling out money for the study aids). Unless I am missing something, in London there are only three sittings in the rest of 2010 for the majority of units from JO1 to JO8 – for two of the units I could only find two sittings.

Week commencing January 25: we had the Fidelity adviser roadshow. One evening, over dinner with a group of advisers, the subject of qualifications came up in conversation and I was struck by how many thought qualifications are a good thing but believed the regime is set up badly. I agree with that, having now paid attention to the wide range of subjects that are required to be studied even for someone who specialises in a particular field. I think it’s okay at diploma level as it’s difficult to specialise in investment without knowing pension income options, for example, but I think personally I will be ending my exam experiment at level four.

Week commencing February 1: I’m pretty pleased this week, having spent a very quiet weekend reading through the whole syllabus for
each JO1-JO8 unit and also looking through some past exam papers. Using past papers is a technique that worked for me when I was doing A levels, so it must work 30 years later, right?

Week commencing February 8: on the Tuesday we released details of our forthcoming China special situations fund, so yet again there was no
studying as I really needed as much time as there was in the week in order to speak with clients. On balance, though, there has been progress and I just need to decide which diploma units to sit first, figure out a sensible timescale for when to take the exams and book the sittings. In my next update, I’ll let you know which I’ve decided upon.

Peter Hicks Head of the IFA channel Fidelity FundsNetwork

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