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Skills council pledges to try harder

The Financial Services Skills Council has admitted its performance has not been up to scratch but says it is committed to improving to gain a new operating licence.

Deputy chairman Gareth Marr says the FSSC has formed a sub-committee made up largely of existing board members to address its failings. It will hold its first meeting this week.

On Monday, the Government denied the FSSC’s bid for a new licence as Skills Secretary John Denham said it did not meet the standard required.

Its existing licence and contract has been extended until August to allow a review of its role and strategy and ministers will reconsider their decision.

The sub-committee includes British Bankers Association chief executive Angela Knight, Resolution Group chief executive John Tiner, former Fidelity Investment Services managing director Richard Wastcoat and FSSC chairman Roy Leighton.

Marr says: “There is a recognition that things have not gone right and we need to address that. We have a very large remit as we cover both the retail and wholesale financial markets. There are 35 trade bodies that the FSSC has to work with in developing appropriate qualifications. It is an incredibly complicated area and we feel we are being attacked. We have done a lot of positive work but we have not got the message out to the whole industry about what we are doing.”

Marr insists the FSSC is committed to its work in developing the benchmark qualifications under the RDR timetable. The FSSC is currently working with the FSA to draw up the breadth of coverage and the content of the QCA level four qualification.

He says: “We are in business for the long term. We will address the issues that have been identified.”


Mary Stewart

Training to be a vet is not the most conventional route into financial services but Hornbuckle Mitchell’s marketing director Mary Stewart began her working life caring for animals. After four years as a vet, she decided to try her hand at sales and marketing as she had always been interested in business so she joined Mars to promote a range of prescription foods for cats and dogs to vets.

OBSR suspends Threadneedle LatAm rating

Old Broad Street Research (OBRS) has suspended the A rating of Threadneedle’s Latin America fund following the announcement that Katy Dobson, the fund manager, has left the group.

Cooperative doesn’t live up to its name

As an adviser in this age of great enlightenment of the RDR, transparency, CAR , TCF, it is a shock to be swiftly transported back to the 1970s when asking for an open market option from the Cooperative Insurance Company which just seems to want to hang on to the money to the bitter end.


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