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Skills council backed over separate exams

The Financial Services Skills Council published its long-awaited exam review this week to unexpected approval from former critics of its proposals.

Its move to provide a separate savings and investment paper has been applauded by the industry, which is also welcoming the introduction of exams for long-term care and lifetime mortgages.

The skills council has also moved to close a loophole which could potentially have allowed big companies such as Legal & General and Norwich Union to run their own exams without accreditation, making it clear that any end-orsement firms get from the skills council will be conditional on meeting appropriate exam standards.

LIA director of public aff-airs John Ellis, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the skills council, believes that the review is leaving the way open for a separate advice skills module to be approved, which he says he has long underlined as an important issue.

Ellis says: “I am pleased with the skills council&#39s response to our comments. I think the council is beginn-ing to shape up into something quite useful.”

Sofa managing director Bob Bullivant says: “We are pleased that a period of uncertainty seems to be coming to an end and that people will be able to get on with planning their development.”

Skills council chief exec-utive Teresa Sayers says: “Through this consultation, we have demonstrated our commitment to a transparent process of working in partnership with the industry and we are confident we will dem-onstrate our role in quality assurance as we move forward.

“This response paper sets out how we will take the rev-iew forward and clarifies some common misunderstandings of its role in relation to the review and appropriate examinations.”

•Sayers appointment, p19

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