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Skandia stands behind Aifa on RDR qualifications

Skandia has thrown its support behind the Association of Independent Financial Advisers’ calls for the FSA to drop its higher qualification requirements for existing advisers under the RDR.

This week Money Marketing revealed that Aifa is calling on the FSA drop the requirements or face a judicial review.

Aifa director general Chris Cummings says the FSA should be encouraging IFAs to meet higher professional standards with regulatory incentives rather than imposing an “arbitrary cliff edge”.

Skandia chief development officer Peter Mann says he “wholeheartedly” supports Aifa’s stance on the issue.

He says while increased professionalism is important, any new standards must be introduced in a way that allows advisers to continue to run their businesses. 

Mann says: “It is in no one’s interests to unnecessarily drive good advisers out of the market by imposing unrealistic deadlines. Many advisers are already highly qualified and many more were voluntarily gaining higher qualifications before the RDR was even thought of. 

“Higher qualifications are nothing to fear for the majority of advisers and we would support more positive incentives such as regulatory dividends to encourage progress in the right direction.

“As usual Chris’ perspective on the market place is insightful and correct. I support wholeheartedly the stance AIFA is taking.”

But the Association of British Insurers has rejected Aifa’s call, arguing that the increased qualification requirements are an essential part of the RDR.

An ABI spokesman says: “The ABI believes that all full financial advisers must reach QCF level four by 2012. This is a central part of the RDR and vital in improving consumer trust in financial advice and the financial services industry in general.”

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Comments

There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The Mystery Shopper for IFAs 4th November 2009 at 4:28 pm

    It’s about time providers spoke up for their distributors. Otherwise where would they get their business from after 2012.

    And as far as ABI employees are concerned they are like qango workers, A WASTE OF TIME so their view can be discounted immediately.

  2. There is bad blood between the ABI and Skandia. The ABI represents the old world of poor performing life offices, many of which have hidden behind the ABI apron strings in order to encourage the ABI and the FSA to implement policies that would offer them tied distribution so that they could continue to sell poor quality products via a sale force. a sales force that that had no independent choice. Many of these providers have failed to develop a platform proposition and see RDR as the only way they will retain business. Two such providers have been very keen to get behind RDR – but now we know why!

  3. For those who are competent it should not be a problem to reach QCF 4. For those who are not-
    well think about quitting while you are ahead. I certainly hope the medical profession dont try this one for all our sakes!! Remember when everybody is somebody nobody is anybody. Let’s strive for positive differentiation.

  4. I agree – exactly what the ABI know about what an IFA does for a client is questionable at best and irrelevant at worst.

    Come on Scottish Widows, Friends Prov, L&G, Aviva, Pru, AEGON etc… how about getting behind AIFA on this one?

    IFA’s are much better distribution channel than the barely qualified banks – who will be all that will be left if RDR is allowed to go through in it’s present form.

  5. I agree with Simon & our mystery shopper friend.

  6. Many IFAs will express gratitude toward a provider which contributes to AIFA coffers and at the same time providing moral support in extremely difficult times.

  7. It is heartening to see that so many in the industry have seen the RDR proposals for the catastrophe that it represents.

    Too many vested interests have attempted to muddy the waters by suggesting that ant-RDR means anti-progress or anti-exams.

    All advisers accept that individual progression is essential. However, increasing skill levels is not the same as a wholesale culling of experienced advisers.

    Common sense must out otherwise the long-term repercussions for UK consumers is hideously grim.

  8. Nicholas Barrett 5th November 2009 at 8:52 am

    It seems to have taken a mass resignation of members from AIFA to finally persuade Mr Cummings to get his finger out!

  9. Duncan Jones comments above “For those who are competent it should not be a problem to reach QCF 4. For those who are not- well think about quitting while you are ahead. I certainly hope the medical profession dont try this one for all our sakes”

    Perhaps Mr Jones is unaware that Nurses are now required to obtain a degree level qualification for entry to their profession. And rightly so — as would such an entry level qualification be for IFAs.

    BUT were nurses of 30 or 40 years experience (or even 2 or 3 years) banned from their profession 3 years after the rule was announced? NO

    And neither should they have been. I certainly hope the medical profession don’t try this – because if they did then the shortage of nurses would decimate the Health Service — in the same way as the shortage of IFAs will decimate Financial Advice Services if the FSA gets its way.

    Congratulations to Skandia for their position. As long standing genuine supporters of INDEPENDENT advice and advisers, they are almost unique among the Providers, hence their position as supporters/ members of AIFA. The ABI is as bad as the Bankers. Vested interest rules every thought and action. They have no concern for the client whatsoever.

    If I am wrong then let’s hear more Providers coming out of the woodwork, supporting AIFAs position, both morally and FINANCIALLY.

  10. It is nice to see commentators focusing on the consumer detriment instead of bleating about the unfairness of it all. As I have said on numerous other threads, those who think the ongoing employment of IFAs is, in itself, the slightest concern of those who rule us are deluded.

    The FSA is charged with the duty of ensuring that there is a competitive, properly regulated Financial Services Market which is accessible to ALL. The RDR will initially cull about 30 -40% of IFAs which will in the medium result in a hige contraction in the number of providers in the industry. The few remaining conglomerates will be able to carve up what is left into a nice little cartel. Quite how this is consistent with the explicit purpose of the FSA is difficult to understand.

  11. It is nice to see commentators focusing on the consumer detriment instead of bleating about the unfairness of it all. As I have said on numerous other threads, those who think the ongoing employment of IFAs is, in itself, the slightest concern of those who rule us are deluded.

    The FSA is charged with the duty of ensuring that there is a competitive, properly regulated Financial Services Market which is accessible to ALL. The RDR will initially cull about 30 -40% of IFAs which will in the medium result in a hige contraction in the number of providers in the industry. The few remaining conglomerates will be able to carve up what is left into a nice little cartel. Quite how this is consistent with the explicit purpose of the FSA is difficult to understand.

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