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Time is not on my side

The news that the RDR is to get a full Parliamentary debate in the House of Commons has been welcomed by many IFAs and it is right that such a major piece of reform is to get full Parliamentary scrutiny.

However, quite how much any debate will affect the broad intentions of the RDR or be able to affect individual RDR proposals such as the QCA level four qualification requirement is doubtful.

Although the FSA is to disappear as an individual entity, the new Consumer Protection and Markets Authority is unlikely to water down much of the RDR. As the name suggests, one of its key responsibilities is consumer protection and it is hard to see them settling for a lower level of education and qualification for people advising on or selling financial products or services.

Mark Hoban has also made his position on the RDR and qualifications quite clear.

As the FSA is independent of Parliament and as the debate is not attached to any specific Bill in Parliament, there is no requirement for any of the outcomes or recommendations of the debate to be acted upon by either the Government or the FSA.

It is a good opportunity to get some of the issues brought to the attention of a wider audience but IFAs should probably not be ditching their plans to get RDR compliant just yet.

On that subject, my plans for getting up to the required standard are still not on track.

As this is the last edition of Adviser Evolution for 2010, I was hoping to be able to look back on a year’s study with some sense of progress.

But despite a reasonable start to the year, the last 12 months have been more than a little frustrating and I am not anywhere near as far down the road to RDR-compliant qualification as I had hoped to be.

The original plan was to have sat and passed the five certificate level exams by this stage, setting myself up for an assault on the diploma level exams in 2011 and 2012. With only two of the five CF exams achieved this year, I am more than a bit behind schedule although the introduction of the new diploma in regulated financial planning has given me some breathing room by getting rid of the requirement to achieve the certificate before progressing on to diploma level.

I am hoping to have a go at the first RO exam before Christmas, assuming there is space available at one of the testing centres, which should leave me in reasonable shape to attempt at least three of the other four exams next year.

But that leaves aside the one really tricky factor in the exam equation – finding the time to study.

When I signed up to these exams, I thought that finding time to study would be one of the hardest things to manage and, sure enough, a lack of time has been the biggest hindrance to my progress this year.

Without having sat any of the new diploma exams, it is difficult to say how academically tough they are but trying to find time to study in addition to a full-time job and maintain any other interests or have anything else to do outside the office is really tough.

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