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The routes to chartered status

Now that the dust has all but settled on the RDR, what is next? For the vast numbers of people who have grafted towards achieving level four diploma, the assumption is that they will fall into one of three groups:

  • those that have had their fill of exams

  • those who are likely to take a break before again committing to further exams, and

  • those who have got into the habit of taking exams and who will continue on to chartered status.

What the balance will be between each population, no one knows for sure. For those that wish to progress, however, there are a number of options available to advisers.

The CII route

An adviser who has achieved the level 4 diploma using the old FPC and just the R0 units offered by the CII will need a further 140 credits to achieve chartered status. At the advanced diploma level, there are six units (AF1 to 6) and they will need to complete at least four of these.

The new kid on the block is AF6 – senior management and supervision. This is different in that it looks at people management and managing risk, rather than technical areas. It is also examined in a very different way to the other AF subjects.

The CII is also keen to provide a wider range of options to reflect the ongoing changes within financial services.

It added three new subjects to its J0 suit of exams last year – J09 paraplanning, J10 discretionary investment management, and J11 wrap and platform services.

Summer 2013 will see the new subject J12 on securities advice and dealing for those advisers who want to demonstrate their knowledge in direct stocks and securities.

The Institute of Financial Services route

Like the CII, there are changes afoot at the Institute of Financial Services. The main development that is most likely to be of interest to advisers is their new Adv DipFA qualification.

Launched last year, this will result in chartered status where people successfully complete four out of six modules. All but one of these focus on technical planning areas and do so using a combination of correspondence course and a final written exam.

The CISI route

Another option – and one being increasing considered by those people who focus on investments – is the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. Wealth managers, private bankers and those involved in discretionary management may already be familiar with the CISI level 4 Investment Advice Diploma. To go on to chartered status, it also offers the Private Client Investment Advice & Management qualification.

It is worth noting that it is possible to adopt a ‘pick and mix’ approach. Quite rightly, people are looking for the qualifications that are most relevant to them and which best support their business activities. The Institutes will typically give credits towards their own chartered status designation to people who have successfully completed qualifications from elsewhere as long as there is overlap with their own qualification syllabus. It is perhaps worth checking how many credits they will give, and any costs involved, before doing so.

Final thoughts….

For those who are following the road beyond level 4 diploma, there is now a larger range of options. Given the growing range of business models post-RDR, this is a welcome step on the journey to even higher professional standards.

Ian Patterson is founder of The Patterson Group


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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Roman Duzinkewycz 25th February 2013 at 9:22 am

    I take issue with the statement ‘leading to higher professional standards’ – sorry but in my book, passing more exams does not mean the same by a long way. You may believe this in your own mind but in my experience, there are people out there who may, on the face of it support RDR and all that goes with it but in reality, they all want to make the sale and that is the be all and end all for some (not all by any stretch but by some). More exams – why not and let’s really see what the adviser community is made of when you threaten their livelihood by forcing these extra qualifications on them. More exam results do NOT make for a better adviser – if you are an honest and decent individual, you will make sure you do your best at all times, even if it means turning business away? How many out there would really do that? I say it because I have turned business down whilst working at a bank yet the powers that be could not understand why. What makes this worse is the fact that I asked the Branch Manager what ‘TCF’ meant to him. His response? ‘Making sure that clients are served quickly in the banking hall’ – dear oh dear – you have still a long way to go with RDR – let’s get Sants back to see what more damage he can do. This is such a charade so please, keep your comments to your scribble pad and wake up.

  2. The exam route to level 4 has given me considerable insight into what I do and why I do it.

    I don’t really know anymore as the main priority was always to serve my local community and make a decent living.

    My local community has all but been alienated by costs of advice now escalating beyond all reason due to these changes and passing more exams has not improved my already exisiting skills and integrity one jot, being honest and doing the best for your clients within their limited budgets was always better than being highly qualified and not being able to deal with ordinary folk.

    However the damage is done, soon the regulator will ban all legacy commission and will render virtually every traditional iFA practice worthless as a saleable business.

    Moving on – sounds like a good idea, but moving on in this industry will probably cost you your sanity and will certainly damage your wealth.

    One upheld complaint could ruin most IFAs, not because they did anything wrong, but simply because they did something, which in future years may be construed by retrospective regulation as unsuitable.

    After all, is there any reason to invest in anything other than NS&I products?

    Maybe that is the governments aim?

    Who knows!

  3. If your ongoing income is fee based not commission based as it should be in most cases by now you will still have a business with value to sell. If not then that’s your fault and you need to start to change quickly if legacy commission does go

  4. If your ongoing income is fee based not commission based as it should be in most cases by now you will still have a business with value to sell. If not then that’s your fault and you need to start to change quickly if legacy commission does go

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