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Survey shows FSA incentives would pay off on RDR exams

Most advisers say they would try to reach QCF level four by 2012 if they were offered regulatory incentives rather than being forced to pass the exams by the FSA.

YouGov/Money Marketing research of over 250 advisers shows 82 per cent of those who are studying towards the qualification or have yet to start but want to remain in the industry say they would still look to gain level four if they were offered regulatory incentives but were not forced to reach the benchmark.

Out of these advisers, 85 per cent would still seek to attain the qualification by 2012.

In November, Aifa called for the FSA to drop mandatory requirements for existing advisers to reach new qualifications, suggesting the regulator should encourage IFAs to improve professional standards with regulatory incentives rather than imposing an “arbitrary cliff edge”.

The research rejects the view that there is a clear split between advisers who have the qualification and those who do not. Nearly half, 43 per cent, of advisers with the required qualifications still say QCF level four should not be mandatory.

Aifa director general Chris Cummings says: “The research will be of terrific value not only to Aifa but also to the FSA as they consider how to implement the RDR in a pragmatic way which rewards firms for investing in their business.”


Securities certificate available to schools

The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment’s certificate will be available to students at secondary schools and colleges from September. The qualification, an introduction to securities and investment, has two units covering bonds, derivatives and financial services regulation and a research-based project com- ponent. The certificate has received a Ucas tariff, which allocates points to […]


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There are 21 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. What more of an incentive do these people need other than to be able to trade and work as an IFA, let trhe 15% leave the industry, less competition for the rest of us.

  2. Marcus Pilkington 22nd January 2010 at 10:50 am

    Gary is spot on. Do those of us who have already bothered to become Chartered and shown ongoing professionalsim receive something extra?

    If you cant be bothered to study then leave the industry and let those who take this seriously get on with it!!

  3. Gary, what a stupid remark! You obviously don’t care about anyone but yourself.

  4. One of my favorite quotes by Warren Buffett sums it up perfectly…

    “In evaluating people, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And, if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”

  5. If these so called professional advisers cannot pass these exams by 2012 then they should not be practising – it’s not very difficult and just needs a bit of effort. It seems that it is a case of “I want to be caled professional” but am not prepared to put in the work to attain a comparatively easy (comparative to say, the law or acccountancy) “professional” qualification.

  6. There is a very important point being missed here. What about the huge number of very experienced IFA’s ( I for one have over 33 years experience) who are now probably in their fifties and find the whole exam situation very daunting. I am going to obtain the sylabus and give it a go but what if I fail? Does that all of a sudden write off all the good work I have done with my clients for many years?

  7. I think all you ‘do gooder’s’ are generally selfish & operate under a culture of I’m allright mate -more work for me!’.That’s cobbler’s as well – because no one except the rich will be able to afford you – as the fewer adviser’s there are – the more your fees will increase to cover the bloated FSA OR EQUIVALENT!

    Stereotype also is Probably up ones own a** & think they ‘know it all’ & potentially uncompassionate to other Adviser’s circumstances & position/s.

    I know I wouldn’t want them as my ‘adviser’

  8. It’s all a load of nonsense as I heard of a newly qualified cefa adviser who had come from bank background, so hardly no adviser practice, as they had a degree in another subject only needed 5 more points to get their diploma-does experience not account for anything!!!

  9. Completely agree with Anon 10:54am.

    Have complete sympathy with Advisers below Diploma level as it can be a slog, I should know as I have nearly completed mine after 5 long hard years. However technical knowledge continues to move on, and the industry has to move on with it.
    Too many advisers that I have seen over the last few years have out of date knowledge, and CPD does not pick up the slack as far as I’m concerned. Even without RDR I have always been supporter of technical exams and I am pleased that I put the hard work in before now, whereas a lot of others havent bothered …

  10. In response to the anonymous 10.54 am.

    If you wanted to be ‘caled’ professional you should be able to spell it!

    Comparatively easy? All other professions have full support to gain qualifications such as college or university course, maybe day release from work too . What do IFA’s get for JO papers? A study text, work for your exams at night trying to balance work load, appointments and family life. Maybe a 1 or 2 day revision course if you are lucky and then an exam trying to catch you out NOT test your knowledge. There is very little external support to help those people who find studying difficult and dont see the comparision of other professional qualifications realistic at all!

  11. in how many other industries do you get told that you now need a degree to carry on doing the same job that you have been doing for the last 20 years? The FSA have obviously passed their degree in being incompetent.

  12. Comparatively easy?
    Some years back an institution (?City of London University) undertook an assessment of professional examinations (which actually is more than the QCA do); specifically I think the ACII in the case of insurance. The ACII was deemed the most difficult, ahead of accountancy and legal (solicitor) qualification exams.
    Don’t think much has changed. There appear to be far too many (presumably) young, rapacious men in a hurry in our industry, licking their lips at the prospect of many older practitioners being driven out of the industry and hoping to feast on the clients thereby left without an adviser. Personally I wish they would crawl back into the woodwork.
    For the umpteenth time in posting on this subject I should stress that I have no axe to grind; I am already qualified beyond level 4.

  13. I trust that by 2012 all FSA stafff will have also passed the same IFA exams so that they can continue to regulate and have a job. If not they should lose their jobs and occupations like many IFA’s will do. Pigs are about to fuel.!!

  14. There are a number of IFAs out there who have passed these exams on the hope and prayer that the rest of us will leave the industry so they can try and grab our clients, because they lack the talent and people skills to cultivate a client bank for themselves.
    If they think exams are so important they should refrain from writing trust business until they have obtained a degree in law.
    I’m fine with chartered financial planners, IFAs and tied agents, just let the public decide who they wish to deal with, what’s wrong with that?
    BTW I have seen some of the work done by fee biased IFAs, charging client for unnecessary work that was not even done by them.
    It’s funny how some crooks like to hide behind qualifications.

  15. Paul Standerwick 22nd January 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I can’t understand why anyone would advocate these exams, they do not help with the practical aspects of giving advice in the slightest. Facts are learnt parrot fashion and are then forgotten 5 mins after the exam.

    I have a degree and am currently a qualified adviser, I have done more exams than I can count so a few more dont really bother me, however they definately won’t make me a better adviser.

  16. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments at 4:39pm. The exams are purely memory tests of the information contained in poorly written handbooks, that do not properly test the application of knowledge. If this was truely a test of an advisers competency, the exams would be open book.

    If I went to see my solicitor with a complex legal problem I would be reassured if he referred to texts prior to advising me. Surely there cannot be a reasonable expectation for advisers to carry all their knowledge in their heads.

    I have no problem with advisers being made to sit exams or having their competency tested, and indeed passed level 4 some time ago. However, in an age where information is readily available at the click of a button, surely testing people’s ability to recall information does nothing to improve their ability to interpret or analyse such information.

  17. “Anonymous | 22 Jan 2010 4:39 pm” states “I have done more exams than I can count “.

    If they can’t even count the number of exams they’ve done, how on earth can they do any tax calculations??

  18. Lovemore Dandira 24th January 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Nothing endures that cannot change, not even top producers. Let’s get on with the exams. I believe the incentive is already there, a licence to trade and barriers to entry that make only those serious about making a career out of financial advice persevere.

  19. As someone who does not propose to sit the required exams and will probably leave the industry, I have to say that, on balance, I am in favour of the new exam requirements.

    I do, however, think that experience is of immense value and should be recognised – but not at the expense of being able to demonstrate technical competence, either by exam or some other means of assessment. And I do think that those of us who have been IFAs for the greater part of our careers – I have over 37 years of experience in Financial Services and 27 as an IFA – should be offered some other means of proving our competence than a formal examination.

    My own decision is not influenced by any reluctance to prove my competence through formal assessment but by the realisation that, at 58, I do not want to spend the next 2 to 3 years slogging away at passing exams to qualify me for the relativity few remaining years of my career.

    I am doing a degree in theology instead so that I can devote my remaining time doing something that I want to continue with well into my retirement.

  20. Fellers; we are all conned. This RDR (rubbish) is all to do with ripping us all off with more expensive examination fees. The only people that win out are the Examination boards.
    It was the same with the old; FPC 1, 2 & 3’s and then the Advanced examinations. Then followed on was the Mortgage exams.
    There should be incentives for taking examinations. I agree with Raymond Woodruff’s comments as I am in the same age bracket?
    I have 35 years experience in the industry.

    I just hope we get a new change of Government, one that does not waste our money; and with it comes new change of Regulator. So far I have seen five changes in Regulators. The ones I remember are; 1. FIMBRA, 2. PIA, 3. GENERAL INSURANCE COUNSEL, 4. THE MORTGAGE CODE, and of course 5. the FSA; and all it’s X-Factor stars? i.e. the ones that like to get their faces put in the financial papers!

    Can any one else remember any more regulators?

  21. Yes we ought to get better qualified. It cant be right to take away an individuals living though.

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