Imagine just for one minute that you no longer have to pass any RDR level 4 exams….that no one is ever going to observe and grade your skills in client meetings again….that not a single one of your client files is going to be scrutinised against a compliance checklist ever again ….in fact any unhappy clients will have no one formally to complain to or get compensation from….that you won’t have to check any of your clients’ needs before making a recommendation because you have an off-the-shelf one-size-fits-all solution, and….the pièce de résistance ….yes, you don’t need to worry about whether you ever answer accurately another client question or check that they understand anything you tell them.
Interesting skill set don’t you think?
The world I describe above exists for the trainers who run the revision courses and design the very materials you rely on to pass the RDR exams. I’m one of them, so I know that there is no regulation or defined standards for this group. And as the demand for training and revision support to pass the exams has mushroomed, more and more people are turning their hand to training. It’s a bit like the Wild West.
One of our clients told us of a free one day course where they had to leave at lunch time because it was getting embarrassing that the Trainer kept being corrected or didn’t know the answer to questions. I’ve also seen one website offering exam study packs which are produced by ‘experts’. The only thing is you can’t actually find any names of the people involved anywhere on the site. The site itself has several grammar and spelling mistakes so it is no surprise that I found the packs contained technical inaccuracies. These are courses and study packs that exam candidates rely on to help them pass their exam, one or two marks not gained as a result of inaccuracy is enough to fail. Then it’s resits; time, money and further pressures as 31 December 2012 gets closer and closer.
So as we move into the final 12 months for you to acquire a level 4 qualification, get any qualification gaps filled and validated by an Accredited Body and, finally, obtain your well earned and essential Statement of Professional Standing – you may want to consider into who’s hands you entrust your career in the countdown to 2013.
So next time you are discussing exam support with a trainer or exam support material supplier, consider asking them a few simple questions:
· “Have you got a training qualification or are you accredited?”
· “Have you passed this exam yourself?”
· “Have your materials been checked as accurate?”
· “How often have you trained this subject?”
· ‘’How many people have you helped pass this exam?’’
· ‘‘Would you be happy for me to speak to someone who has used your services already?’’
In other words, employ the same sort of due diligence on your training supplier as your clients and the FSA can apply to you. The great irony of 2012 for me is that regulated advisers who have to sit exams to demonstrate their professionalism, may be being trained by unregulated Trainers who don’t have to demonstrate their professionalism or even have the qualifications themselves.
Steve Davies runs the Financial Adviser Academy