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Skills council turmoil brings exam concern

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planning is calling for the FSA to take over development of QCF level 4 exam standards if job losses at the Financial Services Skills Council cause delay.

MoneyMarketing.co.uk revealed last week that all 37 FSSC staff have been put on a 30-day consultation notice.

Skills council interim chief executive Liz Field says she does not yet know how many redundancies there will be.

She says the consultation follows recommendations by Simon Ellis – who headed the independent review of the FSSC for its relicensing bid – about staff efficiencies and essential skills needed at the council.

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planning managing director Rob Reid says: “If there is a void as a result of the consultation process, the regulator will have to get involved and continue the development of the standards.”

The FSA refuses to comment on how it would handle a delay but Field insists that work is continuing on the standards.

She says: “We do not anticipate any delays and work on the standard is continuing as normal.”

The Institute of Financial Planning chief executive Nick Cann says the timing of the consultation is difficult, with the market focused on the outcomes of the FSSC’s work.

He says: “Morale must be really low and there will undoubtedly be a need for greater support from the professional bodies and others if we are to achieve the outcomes which are needed.

“A large part of the market is already threatened by the requirements and any further delay will give them more reason not to make the nec- essary progress.”

In May, the FSSC was denied a new licence by the Government and was ordered to conduct a strategic review of its role. It made a submission for relicencsing on September 30 and a decision from the Government is expected in January 2010.

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