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.
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