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Succession to require advisers to take level 6 qualification

Succession is requiring its financial planners to become level 6 qualified in the next 24 months.

The firm has committed £50,000 to support the 60 advisers in its wealth management business to take the qualification.

It has partnered with the Institute of Financial Planning to develop a support programme.

Succession says that when it looks to acquire new advice firms, it will also require them to take the level 6 qualification once they have joined the group.

Succession Group chief executive Simon Chamberlain says: “All our members are on board with this change. In an independent market place, firms have to fit with that culturally, and that means continuing to develop their qualifications.”


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

  1. E L Wisty (an only twin) 11th March 2015 at 4:04 pm

    For one moment, I thought that the article read, “Succession to require advisers to take drug tests”. However, I’m sure that would never happen under the current leadership!

    However, the aspiration to raise qualification standards to level six is an admirable one, and it will interesting to see if the advisers (and Mr Chamberlain) achieve this within the target period.

  2. A smart man, Mr Chamberlain. He knows that if he invests in his staff then clients get a better service and his business grows.

    Very basic rule of business, shame that too many have gone for AUM as their priority instead of putting clients and staff first.

    How times have changed, six years ago nobody would touch me with a bargepole despite Level 6 and all the specialist qualifications.

  3. I already have a level six qualification which was achieved over 35 years ago. However, this doesn’t have anything to do with financial services and the very thought I would now have to do an equivalent degree course at aged 60 whilst working full time just to join this mob makes me laugh out loud.
    Of course I have my bright shiny level four already so it would only probably take me between eighteen months to two years instead of the three years it took me back in the late 70’s.
    I hope Mr Chamberlain achieves his aim of up skilling his advisers and manages to keep them happy when other firms start poaching them away.
    Training for your future or, the future of your competitors comes to mind here.

  4. In any profession the better you get the more people want you to work for them, it is a risk worth taking. I would suggest that not helping your staff meet their aspirations is more dangerous, it happened to me when a regional manager blocked a move because she could not afford to lose my sales figures. I was gone in 2 months.

    With the advent of LinkedIn and other sources of information I am approached every week, that does not mean I am ready to jump ship for a better offer. Never say never though!

  5. Geoff Sharpe

    Is this Succession helping their advisers meet their aspirations, or is this the company forcing their advisers to take exams which at this time are not a mandatory requirement? As previously stated an unintended consequence might be the loss of advisers holding higher qualifications. I’m all for advisers having help reaching their aspirations but I honestly don’t think this is what this is. Someone is on a crusade and it might backfire. You already know how approaches are made to advisers and its jolly nice of Succession to up skill their advisers making them a prime target for the competition and head hunters. They’re setting aside £50k for 60 advisers and I just wonder how many of the 60 are still there three years from now? Time will tell.

  6. Sooner or later the expected norm will be level 6. Gaining additional knowledge is never a bad thing, regardless of industry.

    I agree with Geoff above, I have three chartered titles, level 6 adv diploma, industry specific degree (completed 2010) and I am moving to level 7 – my Linkedin profile is constantly bombarded with recruitment consultant messages.

    Getting to level 6 is not that difficult, keep your staff once they are there could be!

  7. Adamski IFA | 12 March 2015 10:22 am

    As stated previously I already hold a non financial services qualification at level 6. On top of this I was forced to take a level 4 qualification that was neither use nor ornament to what I do on a daily basis. manual NIC calculations for instance. I also gain additional knowledge on a daily basis and doubt there is a practising adviser who doesn’t do the same already.
    I think you’re probably right when you say level 6 will become the norm but at what cost? Who in their right mind is going to want to study for 3 years to join this industry with the degree of uncertainty that currently exists. There has to be a reason there is no new blood coming through and how is this going to change? Or, do you see the day when say; 9,000 advisers (double existing chartered numbers) nationally holding a level 6 qualification only advising to the wealthiest UK citizens and the rest can rot?

  8. E L Wisty (an only twin) 12th March 2015 at 11:09 am

    As previously stated, I believe that this is an admirable aspiration, although I would hope that all firms support their staff in similar ways.

    My one concern would be if acquisitive firms, such as Succession, make achievement of level 6 a condition for continued ‘membership’ and, by stealth, a means of jettisoning unsuccessful individuals and thus avoiding any remaining financial agreement.

  9. The cost to me personally to get where I am exam wise is around £4000 in total, with the same again being spent on my Msc. However, at 32 I see this as an investment in my future. I have done it for me, not a boss or network.

    I agree with you regarding the uncertainty within the industry, but there are numerous level 6 options and it can be achieved with 12 – 18 months. It could be that certain work in the future has to be signed off by a chartered or level 6 adviser – similar to how accountants work in some areas, who knows?

    Will other networks stand by and be seen (potentially) as lesser quality businesses if others push their members to level 6? I doubt it. So this may just be the start of things to come. I am DA so not really worried.

    People talk about level 6 guys being elite, but with MSc’s on offer, this will become the playground of the ‘elite’ (I do not like that term) and level 6 will be the norm. Many chartered advisers preached down to others pre RDR about exams being easy (probably was for them as they had half the credits via old exams) but I cannot wait to see how many of them move to level 7, especially as their grand fathered credits will count for nothing.

    Do clients benefit from enhanced qualifications? Well, that’s another question, but networks will by increasing fees or hourly rates.

  10. I was looking at a picket outside a fire station and thinking about their argument that you cannot expect a 55 years old to be as fit as a 25 year old – older fireman were facing the sack for failing fitness tests. There is an argument that says that you cannot expect a 55 year old to learn and take on new ideas at the same rate as say a 32 year old and certainly sympathy should be extended to older advisers. Surely it is a case of can they do their job? Is there not another way that a firm can assess competency and value?
    But then part time IFAs still have to do the same amount of structured CPD and would you want a surgeon operating on you without the latest knowledge? Can you compromise to take account of the aging effects on an individual or do you write off a generation simply because they are old?

  11. Sam Caunt | 12 March 2015 12:02 pm

    As someone who has been in this industry for 35 years involved with home service, direct sales and bank assurance before becoming an IFA 13 years ago I have no problem with someone wanting me to demonstrate my on-going competence. However, when all the architects of the RDR experiment who came up with the level 4 requirement have now bailed out before the proverbial hit the fan you have to question why some of these requirements are necessary. When I read some of the missives coming out from the likes of the regulator, MAS and FOS et al I simply despair. Level 6 might be the norm in the future but at the moment it isn’t and I suspect it will be a bridge too far for a lot of highly experienced well thought of by their clients, advisers. I might not have to climb ladders like your firemen example but I bet they’ve never had to jump through as many hoops or climb steep walls the way I have had to just to stay in the game. And, for what purpose half of the time?

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