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Standards are set out for financial skills framework

The National Learning and Skills Council and the Skills Council for financial services have released a new standards framework for financial services in a bid to develop work-based qualifications among financial advisers.

The move comes as an attempt to take forward the exam review, which has been handed over to the Skills Council from the FSA.

The project will see £650,000 of NLSC funds sunk into programmes focused on Level 3 qualifications, with more to come for Level 2 qualifications. The focus of the new standards is twofold – to reduce the bureaucracy generated by work-based assessments and to complement existing processes that firms already undertake for FSA regulatory requirements.

The review has received widespread support from the industry, with providers, advisers and trade bodies largely behind the initiative.

Institute of Financial Planning chief executive Nick Cann believes the new structure largely contains exactly the same criteria that has been around for the past decade but says the importance of the new structure is that it is cleaner and more suited to vocational training.

Aegon&#39s head of industry development Peter Williams says a lot of the structure was largely predictable. He says Aegon is pleased with the concept of international recognition but believes there is still a lot of work to be done.

He says: “There was very little detail regarding the next stages and how the syllabus would be arranged, which now needs to be evolved.”

Cann says: “The new structure will allow advisers to structure their training to prepare them for whatever vocation route they wish to take.”

Skills Council for financial services chief executive David Jackman says: “We are developing a standards framework in an international context to raise skill levels across the industry and the contributions of our partners in the process are critical to boost the performance and competitiveness of UK plc.”

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