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Tories question RDR timetable and exam focus

The Conservative Party has questioned whether the 2012 retail distribution review timetable is practicable and suggested there should be more emphasis on experience and on-the-job training.

Speaking at the Aifa annual dinner last night, Shadow pensions minister Nigel Waterson told guests he understood the changes forced on the industry by the RDR are of huge concern to advisers.

He read out a letter he had received from an IFA in his constituency who was concerned the RDR would lead to less people getting advice, that advice becoming more expensive and the mid-market being left to the banks. “I think that is the authentic voice of the sole practitioner IFA,” said Waterson.

Waterson questioned whether the RDR timetable was achievable given the  extra qualifications and system changes that were needed. He also questioned whether exams should take precedence over experience and work-based training.

He said: “On the face of it, given the complexity of the system I have described, it seems fair that a higher level of qualification will be required to give out advice.

“But while no-one can object to raising the standards of training and competence, should an emphasis on exams take precedence over on-the-job training and experience? Is the 2012 implementation date practicable given the extra qualifications and changes in systems that will be required to be in place?

Waterson said the two key measures of success from the RDR should be the extent to which the availability of advice and guidance is increased and that it raises the level of consumer engagement with financial services.

Waterson also warned that the RDR may conflict with the current European review of retail financial products “leading to a confused message”.

Previously the Tories have been careful not to offer much of an opinion on the RDR. In an interview with Money Marketing at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this autumn, Shadow financial secretary Mark Hoban refused to answer questions about the RDR and said it was a matter for the regulator.

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Comments

There are 81 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. is someone listening at last?

  2. I am 65 and want to continue working as an IFA until at least 70, but if I am reqyired to take any exams to continue I shall be forced to leave the industry. This is not being fair to my clients who all want me to continue let alone to me!

  3. is someone listening at last? Not really it is an election year, just after securing more votes!

  4. Don’t be silly all these MP’s who are making small comments are not that interested in IFA companies, they are quite happy to make comment but that is all it is a comment, if you actually think anyone of these MP’s are going to get thier hands dirty on our behalf are mistaken!

  5. Is this possibly a MP who understands the market? RDR, if the FSA think that implementing it will give cients a better chioce and service they are mistaken (not for the first time) clients want proper independant advice,not as the questioner says “pushing the clients towards the banks”,or maybe thats the FSAs intention.

  6. forcing qualifications will mean a number of senior IFAs such as my self will probably leave the industry,or seak some form of cover with a group umbrella organisation.With the rise next year of supermarket driven operations they will sell direct products £X per plan what advantage is that .The FSA in my view are looking for greater control.

  7. If the Tories do focus on “on the job” training and “experience” it will ultimately prove detrimental to the industry. Just because somebody has been in the industry for 30 years does not mean they are any good!! Would anyone out there have an operation from a surgeon that called himself a “surgeon” but did not have the qualifications to demonstrate his technial capability. I for one would choose the surgeon who had proved and demonstarted this technical ability. When will these advisers who cling to their worthless FPC3 certificate get the message – it is time for signifcant change.

  8. I cannot agree more with the IFA who has written to Mr Waterson. The impact on customers will be the opposite of what Mr Waterson said the two key measures of success from the RDR should be; the extent to which the availability of advice and guidance is increased and that it raises the level of consumer engagement.I am all for our industry becoming a more highly qualified one as I feel it helps to increase consumer confidence. However, this should not be forced on us and should most definitely not have a timescale attached. It should be the adviser’s choice!

  9. Is there any other industry that requires its practioners to start taking exams after 10-40 years doing the job?I am 51 and don’t know any other person in any field or profession still taking degree standard exams (in their own time) whilst still working.Furthermore the current exams are merely a test of memory and not competence and the older you are the worse the memory is unfortunately.So this sounds like common sense to the vast majority of working IFA’s ,but is anyone listening?Probably not.

  10. It would seem that the Tories have now recognised life after RDR is not in the main consumer friendly, and in particular with the bulk of advice likely to be left to be provided by the Banking sector who, were no doubt influential in driving this legislative change in the first place. What a terrible thought for all !

  11. Mr Waterson is your average politician. i.e. showing the ‘We’ve been out of power for so long that we must change everything to prove our worth’ mentality. We had it in 1997 and we’ll have it again next year.

    For goodness sake – there’s still over THREE YEARS to go until the implementation at the end of 2012. All IFAs have a choice, which they have known about for a long time. They can either get the exams, do the assessment or cease to be IFAs.

    We need to make financial planning a profession and in my view what is already proposed is the only way to do it properly.

    There are still far too many IFAs giving rubbish advice to people (witness, for example, the huge increase in with profit bond sales) and we need to get rid of them.

    We also need to make sure that people who can’t afford to, or don’t want to, pay for independent advice can, post 2012, get reasonable guidance and an inexpensive product which ‘does what is says on the tin’. This is equally important – to ensure that as many people as possible are financially independent and not a burden on the State.

  12. I fully agree with the comments above.
    RDR will see a return to less people seeking professional advise on financial planning.
    The cost will put people off,even enquiring about financial planning.
    We will see a return to people purchasing financial products without the full knowledge of the product and the alternatives available to them.
    When complaints from non payments on claims start to re-appear that the industry will know it took a wrong turning.
    The financial world is in turmoil because of the poor way the banks have handled our money.
    Why should the man in the street pay ,yet again , by losing access to professionally trained financial planning consultants.
    New comers to the industry should take the new exams.
    It is totally incorrect to expect existing financial planning consultants , with not only the training , but also the experience (something that cannot be bought) to give up approx 100 hours for each topic to re- train ,and , the time that is taken out be re-examined.
    In the current market it is hard enough to keep up the income stream ,without having to take time out to re-train.
    Current financial planning consultants have families and commitments – will the FSA compensate these people for all the time and money it costs to re-train experienced consultants.
    Remember an exam is only a memory test – you can ,and most professional financial planning consultants do , look up for any extra knowledge prior to any client meeting.
    The exam is not a test of knowledge – it only a test for your memory
    Insisting on attendance to regular ongoing training should be sufficient.

  13. Nigel Waterson has a good point. Whilst we all want to be able to provide the best possible advice to clients, the timetable of it all having to be done by 2012 is very tight and judging from discussions with colleagues the CII exams are being set too high for the average general practice adviser who (by the way) is also pretty busy trying to earn a living at the same time as spending 100’s of hours studying, this is resulting in many ‘re-sits’ and significant additional costs which are going to push the timetable back anyway.
    Moving new clients of all types of advisers (Indep and Tied) to ‘fee based’ advise only is also going to result in a huge ‘Dutch Auction’ with the banks discounting heavily, whilst at the same time offering their homoganised level of advice to the volume clients as they do currently. Human nature being what it is Clients will choose advise based simply on costs as apposed to quality and service. Some of the ridiculous rules preventing cross subsidising,factoring and enhancement of initial investments (which have worked very well for many years) will actually result in clients paying more for their advise up front or no advise at all. The product providers/fund houses will have to offer a whole range of the same funds to meet the various choices open to clients. Who do you think is going to pay for all this. The client of course. Has this all been thought through, no, but it looks good on the manifesto as it is quite clearly a politically motivated policy for Labour.

  14. I’m going to write to my MP; clearly it has more impact than I thought. It has always been a contentious aspect of the RDR that established and successful advisers, who are qualified by examination already, should be told they are out of a job, unless they take new and harder exams. I have been interviewing a number of advisers recently and way too many are planning to leave the industry as they feel undervalued and insulted. Other professions raise standards, but always for new entrants(nurses being the latest), why is a largely successful and professional industry being treated so badly. By all means make the new exams available to everyone, so those who want to, or who have the time and energy, can do them but only make them compulsory for new entrants. Don’t get me started on the fee only proposals and other nonsense.

  15. Why the continual bleating about 30 years of experience! Stop bleating and get the exams. They are not difficult. If you have 30 years of experience, one wopuld hope you would have learned something in that time.

    It will be to the detriment of this industry if the RDR issue is watered down and confused. We have known for years that there has been pressure for greater qualifications. I accept that qualifications are not everything, but until there is some other uniform method of measuring knowledge and competence, get on with it.

    THere are exams and tests in many other walks of life i.e driving test, GSCEs, degrees, law exam, accountancy exams, doctors, dentists etc. Why the reluctance of IFAs to take exams.

  16. This is an extremely important and responsible debate to have and it is essential to accept the need for quality and experience through both professional qualifications and giving advice. It is equally important to have specialism in, say pensions, authorised by appropriate professional qualifications to continue in that sector of advice. Such qualifications will have already been achieved and not necessarily within such Institutes as the CII. This is something I have not yet seen come to the table and so I hope politicians and the FSA will act to make such provision and with some urgency. I therefore welcome any political comment that is a steer towards more radical thinking and certainly with some common sense applied to the unwelcome time limit currently imposed by the RDR. Well said Nigel Waterson.

  17. I am reading with amusement some of the comments on this article. I find the post about the person who does not know of any other profession taking exams after years in the job particularly comical. Other professions do not call for additional exams as these are done before one can practice – ie law. What “profession” allows somebody to practice having taken 3 very easy exams? These people need to get a grip – either demonstrate and prove technical competency or leave the industry.

  18. I agree with 9:06am above.This industry needs to recruit new young talent if there is not to be a shortage of IFAs in the future (meaning the public will default to the banks for advice). Currently the typical IFA has an average age of 54 and invariably has not planned the succession of their business. Therefore to ensure continuation of the highest levels of ongoing knowledge/service as no doubt currently delivered to their clients by some of my older peers above I believe Diploma level entry is essential. This is then akin to the level of entry qualifications required of a new solicitor/accountant and ultimately is this not the point of RDR & TCF? To survive as an industry we need the public to start to perceive us as professional “advisers” rather than commission grabbing “salesmen”. Embrace change and start studying for the JO exams, you may learn something new and be able to offer even more to your clients!

  19. So far there are just 2 comments on this article supporting the RDR proposals and many more against. I would liek to comment on the comments of the minority.
    The first states that just because one has 30 years in the industry it does not mean you are very good – Absolutely true (although it is unlikely that a total incompetent or dishonest individual could last that long), Equally however, the fact that you have passed a level 4 qualification is no indication of ability to actually do the job effectively.

    The other states “There are still far too many IFAs giving rubbish advice to people (witness, for example, the huge increase in with profit bond sales)” I could almost rest my case without further comment. This individual clearly assumes that With Profit Bond sales are bad in every respect and should be banned. To dismiss any product out of hand without reference to an individuals circumstances and wishes is almost criminal.
    If such closed minded attitudes are the result of Level 4 or higher training then I for one have no wish to be brainwashed in the same way.
    AND please do not roll out th eold argument of 7% commissions. It is principally the banks that continue to take this level of remuneration from bond sales, not the well established small IFA. Most of those that I have spoken to would normally charge 3% plus 0.5% trail.
    Please do not misunderstand me. I am all in favour of an increase in the professional qualifications needed for IFAs, what I object to is the arbitrary imposition of a fixed date upon which vast swathes of exceptionally good IFAs will be illegally removed from their chosen business.

  20. Allelujah ! Another good reason why the Tories will be the new governmemt to take us out of the abyss we find ourselves in. A little tardy in speaking up about the RDR but better late than never. All the exams and wasted hours of study will not make a bad adviser any better. Lets look at what really matters and talk with those in need of and those receiving help and advice from the many experienced advisers who provide an excellent service.

  21. In response to Anonymous 9.06 a.m.

    Why do people like you use stupid ANALogies like this in comparing what we do? what next the “I wouldn’t get on an airplane if the pilot wasn’t properly qualified” ………….

    I am just pleased to see that Ministers are commenting now….. but whether it will change anything I am not so sure but I live in hope!

  22. I’m currently training to be an IFA taking my CF2 early next month. I have worked in the industry for 3 years but can see how much the clients are going to be disadvantaged by RDR. (Any fool can, can’t they?)
    The average client doesn’t want to pay up front fees for investing in S/S ISA’s,(The first point of call according to my CII text book), or any product for that matter. They are happy for the provider to pay us commission. Many providers offer no initial charge products. It’s about the client’s perception.
    And how do I get the time to pass CF3, 4 & 5 and 3 degrees by 2012.

  23. NO longstop No vote 18th November 2009 at 9:44 am

    Do not be fooled! The tories do not care any more than labour. If they did they would give recognition to the fact that the RDR is illegal.Mark Hoban has already said no longstop for IFAs will still apply under a tory government.The tories will say anything in the run up to the election in the hope of getting votes.Any change to qualifications under the RDR should be for new entrants. It is time we let any prospective government know that they will not receive a vote from any IFA unless we are afforded the same basic rights, enjoyed by every other British citizen.The fact that the tories are sucking up to sants should tell you who theywill be listening to.
    “Be the liars & cheats called labour or tory they will feather their own nest & lie to the end”
    Lewis Grassic Gibbon

  24. Kim Steven Barrett 18th November 2009 at 9:47 am

    Yet again, we have politicians meddling in something they know nothing about.
    Yet again our industry is shooting itself in the foot.
    As far as I am aware CII exams are scheduled at least every six months; some are scheduled more frequently. This effectively means that there are at least six exam opportunities between now and the end of 2012. I passed AFPC in 1995 and have gone on to take further exams subsequently so I am not fully aware of what Level 4 Diploma requires but if it is six of the JO papers then there is sufficient time to pass them. What are advisers so afraid of? If they continually state they are well qualified i nthis ever changing landscape to advise clients with very basic qualifications then they should have no fear in sitting, and pssing further exams.
    The sooner the very poorly qualified advisers depart the industry the better! I have taken five pensions exams in my time as an IFA and in each case the subject matter was different as politicians continually seek to meddle in the arena. How, therefore, can an adviser claim to retain competence in this area of advising alone if the yare merely relying on out of date exams, and work-place experience. This is simply not good enough.

    By the way my own father was, for all of his working life, a printer. In his late fifties he was forced to learn computer skills as thanks to the efforts of Rupert Murdoch in fainally breaking the union stronghold on the print industry, assisted by the Conservative government of the day, there was no longer a need for the skill he has endured a six year apprenticeship for! From his late fifties onwards my father struggled to find any meaningful task worthy of his experience to generate a reasonable income with which to sustain his needs. Waky up fellow financial advisers, this is called progress!

    Equally if it has not escaped your notice most banking staff would appear to embracing RDR and the need to sit, and pass, exams in a more welcoming fashion. If the views of these luddite financial advisers are allowed to pervade our whole industry will be extremely distorted to the extent that the better qualified advisers will, in the main be working for the banks. You have been warned!

    In any event, and as far as I remember, financial services legislation became effective on 28 April 1988. I know I commenced practicing then. This being the case all financial advisers have now have 24 years to raise their professional standards, and part of this process involves sitting and passing exams. Why is there such a resistence to embrace improvement of standards?

  25. Yes of course there are exams in all walks of life but the point is they are seldom retrospective. As a slightly earlier posting says, the nursing industry is the latest. Nurses may need to have degrees in future but this rule will not apply to existing nurses with years of experience. This is a simple more or less universal principle and needs to apply here to our industry
    .
    Nor should anyone assume the lobby for this is protecting its own interests. I have been involved in this debate from the off and I have written twice to my MP complaining about the effect of trying to drive IFAs of a certain age into the exam room. I am not personally affected as I already have a level six qualification.

    There is little doubt in my mind that a change of government will bring a change of regulator and this untenable measure will be taken out of the equation. I have more doubt that there will be a change of government; the conservatives are a long way from being home and dry.

  26. obv there is much variation of opinion on the matter – personally i have one more exam to take to meet RDR qualifying standards and whilst i do genuinely feel that i have learned additional material in the recent studying i have to say that none of what i have learned will make me a better adviser as the questions that it enables me to answer have not been asked of me for the last 17 years and i cannot imagine that changing.

    the issue perhaps is that it is very difficult for any body or regulator to gauge expertise or standards without using the exam based system – the ideal would be a system that can take into account the experience of those that are ‘more mature’ and have greater experience than myself.

    unf i feel that the exam issue has caused many to miss the big picture and that is the potential future segmentation of clients into HNW and not HNW.

    ‘normal’ people need advice but these are the people that either cannot or would not wish to pay fees – these are also the people that traditionally have been victims of bank based advice.

    as it happens, i will achieve RDR qualifications and our business style will not be drastically effected by 2012 but it is my opinion that RDR is NOT suitable for most normal people wanting advice and IF TCF had been implemented as it should then none of this would be neccessary.

  27. The job of an IFA is important and qualifications are required but compare the importance of an IFA with an MP who does not require qualifications.

  28. having been in the industry for more than 30 years and mainly dealing with working class people i feel the introduction of RDR will impact mostly on these people who will not pay up front for advice and will be left with little or no cover etc

  29. the major good thing about RDR is that it will drive out all the sharks that still exist in our community. Guess what they can also be IFA’s! those that rebroke GPP every five years because they need to earn. those that still take 7% initial to earn. those that continue to churn and earn. we still have a lot of these people around so let us get rid once and for all!

    i am all for raising standards as well and this means gaining qualifications but at a steady pace. we have to be treated along the same lines as an accountant and solicitor and i regret this is probably the only way to achieve this.

  30. In repsonse to Eric Shun at 9.06am.

    Eric – would you get on a plane controlled by a pilot who was not properly qualifed?

    Would you have an operation by a surgeon who was not properly qualified?

    Would you let someone run your entire net worth [that you have worked all your life to accrue] with three simple exams they took in 1996?

    Very intersted to hear your views.

  31. Couldn’t agree more, stop complaining and get studying.

    Ill wait for the same old ‘well I havent got enough time’ or ‘I’m too old excuses’ that follow.

  32. I am a 25 year industry professional who will face RDR at aged 51. I currently have no plans to take any further exams until there is clairty on exactly what the position is with exams and what the position is without the exams. I hear both arguments and whilst discussions tend to vear towards, “I have a right to remain in the industry without further exams” to “life moves on and if exams are part of that culture then so be it!”. The argument about clients being upset because of the possibilty of an advisor no longer being able to service them is really a red herring, becasue at the end of the day, clients prefer professinal advice, not advice from a friendly professional.The simple fact is that our business is becoming far more complex and business I felt comfortable writing 5 years ago I feely admit that in somne cases I double check with more qualified people, not becasue I dont know, but becasue I may have a niggling doubt and need to clarify a point. Solicitors went through this change many years ago when some the 2 to 3 partner city firms started to merge as a cost saving model. My solution to RDR was to realligning my business.I firmly beleive that the days of running a sole practise or being part of a network are numbered because it nearly impossible to remain compliant as a sole practioner. I merged my clients in to a larger practise that could support my clients, my admin and a working model going forward. The one biggest problem with RDR (more than the exams) is quite simply, no body knows the final outcome, becasue of the Governement involvement and even the MP’s dont know if they have jobs next year, so if you think they care about whether we have jobs 2 years later, wake up!! When RDR does come in, it will not be the end of financial advice, but the beginning of a more robust profsession. How do we non exam takers fit in, to be honest I dont know, but woul dimagine that we will be able to continue to see our clients but in a more controlled or monitored environment. Persoanlly, I have no issue with that what so ever. Its not just our proffession. A client of mine flying longhaul 4 engined jets for the past 20 years, took a voluntary early retirement package becasue as he said things change, sytems are getting more complex and the 6 monthly check rides are becoming too onerous and he longer felt as ‘sharp’ as he did 5 years ago – and no he currently is not financially secure, he has just changed his employment model.

    Life will continue after RDR, but in another format, personally I cant wait, becaue I think the opportunities for the senior more experienced advisors working within a framework of RDR, will be greater than ever. Stop winging on about exams and your rights to your clients and focus more on realliging your busienss model and preparing for post RDR.

  33. Few Points:

    Qualifications
    To echo a few comments previously made, would you be able to practice medicine with just A-lebel Biology & Chemistry?? Thought not!! Our industry is probably one of the few where you’re effectively allowed to practice with very little in terms of ‘proper’ qualifications. Ok, so most of you still have just FP3 – woopie do!! Too many people have had it far too easy for too long; many ‘old school’ advisers have earned more than nough over the years to put their hands into their pockets and shell out to take the reqd exams.

    Pandering
    Yep, AIFA and the Tories are pandering to the masses again – now we’re in election year. As with most ‘hard-to-face’ issues in this country (eg QE, debt levels), we just have to bite the bullet and get on with addressing it properly – ie getting FULLY qualified and becoming more professional with our TCF/attitudes … … (Fisher’s comments recently are a classic example of a step into the ‘bad old days’)

    Timetable
    We do NEED a timetable – otherwise nowt gets sorted. Period. If 2012 isn’t achieveable, when is?? … … we’ll end up just letting things roll along indefinitely. Should we just wait until ALL ‘old-school’ advisers have retired then make the radical changes reqd??

  34. A Chartered Financial Planner 18th November 2009 at 10:13 am

    As ever this debate seems to be driven by ageing IFAs wanting to protect their income – it is irrational to debate that consumers are better protected by advisers who are unqualified.
    However, the CII hold a virtual mononopoly on exams – & their excessive text & focus on irrelevant historic minutia – rather than practical information makes these exams virtually inpenetrable to normal self employed advisers, who also have business’ to run – another example of a self interested body with its “snout in the trough”

  35. I don’t understand why advisers (if they have anything about themselves) and have been in the industry for 30 years or so, don’t already have sufficient qualifications already. If they haven’t you’d like to think that they should have seen enough during this time to be able to sit the exams quite easily.

    I think it shows how easy the industry was to get into initially and how many just do the bare minimum.

    But honestly if I was getting on and was asked to do more exams I wouldn’t want to either. But where are the client banks which these IFA’s have been building up for 30 odd years going to go. There are not enough new advisers and there’ll definitely be a lack of experience in the industry when many leave (baring in mind the average age of an IFA is 59).

    The most important part of this though is the detriment to the client and not being able to get good honest advise for no upfront fee, not the fact of qualifications. If you have the experience you should be able to get the qualifications. If not you probably don’t know enough to be able to advise many clients properly.

  36. They’ll probably just rebrand it and implement it very slightly differently just like they are doing with the jokers at the FSA

  37. My greatest concern with RDR is that it will deny those with the greatest need from gaining independent advice.

    The Labour Government brought in stakeholder pensions in its first year and over 60% of investment advisers de-authorised themselves within 12 months as they went from decent commissions for encouraging people not to rely on the State to £30 commission.

    The Goverment’s view was then that lower costs would encourage more people to save toward their retirement or that people could pay a fee for the advice. The reality is 64% of the population had a pension provision in 1997 and now that has dropped to 37% in 2008. This trend was not solely due to taxation of pension funds as the Press believe.

    RDR all sounds great to those with the means, but the reality is the least well off will lose access to the IFA market and go to the bancassurers. Higher exam qualifications are great, but the majority of the population just need simple advice, so who caters for them.

    The Government that supposedly represents the working class population also started IPT and taxing insurance policies to presumably encourage more reliance on the State.

  38. Although I agree that the timing is onerous, the truth is that the majority of IFAs have made no effort to progress their knowledge and, in many cases, their skills since sitting three multiple choice papers 15 or more years ago. Comments about it being unfair are therefore unjustified, as there has been plenty of time to progress their professional knowledge and gain qualifications. You only have to look at the changes in product design, taxation, trust law and portfolio theory for example to understand how vital it is to continue to learn. As for the argument that other professions do not have to study – surely that is what CPD is and, if we as a ‘profession’ had taken a professional approach to CPD, rather than merely paying lip-service to it, seeing it as something that had to be done to tick a box for the regulator, this would be less of a problem?

  39. With regards to the comments above regarding surgeons, I personally would always opt for a surgeon with many years experience and a well documented and regulated history over and above the recently qualified pretender who only looks good on paper!

  40. I would suggest that Anonymous of 9:06am would choose his/her surgeon based on recommendation not by reading his CV to check his exam grades. I hope he/she is not hoping to build a business based on exam success as they may find that they wished they had studied medicine. Recommendation, it’s not exactly brain surgury is it!!!!

  41. Is it unique to the Finance Industry that so many comments come from people who wish to reman anonymous. If the people are not prepared to identify with their opinions, are they worth printing.

    Further are the publishing constraints too rigid, for too many appear rejected as Unsuitable or Offensive, which must reflect on this Salesman driven professional Industry.

  42. If ignoring with profits bonds that are opaque, poor value and tax-inefficient is a crime then I’m happy to stand guilty as charged.

    What is perhaps more criminal is the continued use of investment bonds (other, perhaps, than when held as trust assets) when direct investments are more tax-efficient and cheaper. For example, the Henderson Strategic Bond fund returned 33.2% in the five years to Oct 1st (source : Money Management). Put it in a Skandia Life bond and the return drops to 20.1%.

    Over ten years the difference is greater still – e.g Invesco Perpetual Smaller Companies returned 126%. Within the same bond it would have been 37% less.

    Simply taking 3 plus 1/2 instead of 7% up front on a bond doesn’t suddenly make it good advice!

  43. Eddie R almost at Diploma 18th November 2009 at 10:45 am

    There should be a deadline to encourage people to get Diploma but if its missed they should not be kicked out….There should be an increased level of supervision until passed or on the job assessed ??
    As for comments about how bad those with 30yrs and just FPC go, do the commentators genuinely think these IFA’s havent bee supervised for 30 years or havent had their business checked or had compliants (if any) scrutinised.

    Many comments infer those with just experience have been operating ‘under the radar’ for 30 years and now their being caught out , what a load of rubbish.

    Most really bad advisers (IFA’s) are already out of the industry, there still seems to be plenty in bank assurance if the complaints are anything to go by, do you really what the majority of consumers dealing with those guys !!

  44. What is all this talk about industry? Surely that involves heavy lifting and machinery. If we all start referring to what we do as ‘the profession’ and not ‘the industry’ we might then stop this ridiculous aversion to being properly qualified.

  45. I have just moved from being a mortgage advisor to financial advisor. I did my CEFA in 2007. Doing exams doesnt not necessarily prepare you for the real world. On the job training and a yearly exam to keep up to date with industry changes is what we need. This need for higher level of education is not needed. It will ultimately clear out good IFA’s and will be bad for customers who struggle as it is to get good advice. This RDR just adds pressure that isnt needed.

  46. Chartered Financial Planner working for tied compa 18th November 2009 at 11:01 am

    I’m a bit perplexed as to why the banks win here?. All advisers need to be qualified- whether tied, multi-tied or new definition of independnet. All advice charges need to be seperated out from product charges. Why do banks win? Doesn’t this provide the level playing field that the indusrty has been crying out for?

  47. I was worried when I started reading the comments on this article but thankfully they have become more sensible later on.

    I really wanted to applaud Charlie for his refreshing view as an experienced adviser and clearly a pragmatic person who recognises that times are changing, what was once acceptable is no longer and we need to move on to create a professional environment.

    A reply also to a comment early on stating that he does not know any other profession which makes an individual study degree equivalent exams in their own time. I have 2 responses to this.

    Firstly, QCA level 4 is not a degree equivalent, far below it in fact. A final year degree is QCA level 6.

    Secondly, there are no other ‘professions’ that have an entry qualification as low as the FPC which is the equivalent to a GCSE or ‘O’ level. If you werent in this industry woudl you allow someone to look after your lifetime wealth with a GCSE? I doubt it.

    To echo the other comments here, accept it, move on.

    There is an abundence of help available. The PFS can help you to get the qulaifications or the IFP can help you with managing the transition to an RDR compliant business model. Even without the RDR, the move to a Financial Planning business can be very rewarding, both personally and financially.

  48. The exams are just a small part of RDR. The overall cost of implementation can not be met by many smaller practices who would have to pass this on to their clients.

    The cost of regulation is something that only the banks can pay easily and this mean that clients will have only them as their main affordable option.

    They have and always will be reckless because they do not care and when they sell volumn, they can afford to pay the fine from the FSA. Thats if the FSA have the bottle to tackle them in the first place.

  49. The problem lies in the fact that a large portion of advisors are simply oblivious to their own failings and limitations. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. I would question the professionalism of any advisor that has been in the industry for 10-40 years and has no more in the way of qualifications than FPC. Qualifications are the only effective way to raise industry standards to the desired level. If existing advisors know as much as they think, why not demonstrate it by passing the exams?

  50. Some contributors have compared their role and responsibility to that of brain surgeons and airline pilots. An American might shout “reality check”!

    Passing a diploma does not enable any in our industry to liken our roles to pilots and surgeons. People do not die if we get it wrong. Indeed, all of those of us who hold a driving licence possess a greater risk to people’s lives than financial advisers.

    However, we do hold a lower level of responsibility and poor advice can have a negative impact on our clients’ quality of life.

    My earlier point is that exams and qualification should be commensurate to the advice required by and financial position / complexity of the client.

    A 90 year old with a £10m estate incorporating a multitude of trusts and tax mitigation measures needs to be assessed by someone of suitable competency. A diploma level of qualification goes some way toward demonstrating that competency and seems a prudent measure from the FSA.

    However, Mr & Mrs Average taking out a £50 pm pension and a £15pm life policy do not require the same level of expertise and are coincidentally the most unlikely to pay for independent advice. However, they make up the majority of the population and are the most in need of advice from a suitably qualified adviser.

    Those new to the industry start with these clients and work their way up the ladder through experience and qualification to deal with more complex cases. This is also true for surgeons and pilots.

    You will note the Government now wishes to get all nurses to degree qualification. Part of the nurse retention problem was caused when they increase the requirement to diploma level. Those qualifying start work only to find the academic side of their role is a very small part of their daily duties. Most of it is people in pain and cleaning bed pans – very unglamorous.

    Historically, these jobs were taken by those with good personal skills and a vocation to help others and a commensurate level of academic ability. Nurses had the options then to increase their qualification to progess to more complex roles, such as midwifery.

    Following RDR, we may move to the requirement of a financial services degreee and new entrants finding most of the clients they see needing the latter level of advice and, as with nursing, becoming despondent and using their exam in other industries.

    One the FSA’s principles is promoting advice and it will lose this with RDR when Mr & Mrs Average go to banks or, as with now, stop buying financial products.

  51. With regard to the general attitude of advisers it seems that approx 20% support the current exam regime and 80% do not. As an ageing industry I suspect it is fairly obvious how these proportions are grouped. As every aspiring youngster now expects to go to uni (and good for them) most 50 plus people come from the time when such aspirations were only available for about 10% of their generation. It did not make the the other 90% useless and ignorant non achievers. The same principle applies to those who do not have the time, confidence or money to complete the RDR requirements by 2012. This job is about communication, empathy and a genuine desire to help people build up their financial aspirations. I have applied this principle for 30 yrs and it seemed fairly obvious at the beginning that doing a good job kept client loyalty and a continual stream of referrals coming in- much more efficient than hard advertising or hanging qualification plaques on the wall! As my client bank are in the average earnings bracket they were (and are) rarely in the paying fees only bracket,they were happy to understand that slow drip charges over the term of the plan was a painless way to go. After all the driving force behind investment efficiency and returns is performance over the years, not charges. Eg would anyone complain today if they had taken out a plan last winter, seen a typical equity return of 30% plus and paid say 5% in charges? You do not need loads of exams to analyse and select a good set of fund managers in a relevant category- do you? If there is specialist work required then refer your client to somebody with the right knowledge & experience. Is that not what a GP does for his patient? No, I shall be out of it by 2012 but I fear for my clients who will all become potential victims of the bank assurers, as I doubt many will want to pay commercial fees to firms bristling with qualifications, who in fact would much rather be dealing with corporates and high net worth clients anyway. There is room for them and even more for the likes of me- and you if you agree with me! By all means let the FSA ban the rogues but leave the rest of us to get on with trying to do a good job and keep studying if you really think it will make you a better person.

  52. IFAs should stop bleating about not having time to do the necessary exams. The exams have been available for over 15 years and any adviser worth their salt should have sat sufficient exams ages ago.

    At this stage to say they don’t have the time or inclination is utter rubbish, they’ve had plenty of time.

    The exams are challenging, but that’s the point. They are about the job that advisers do, not brain surgery or rocket science.

    Bring it on, I say, and weed out the advisers who just can’t be bothered.

  53. The two central issues here seem to be:-

    1. At at last there seems to be some prospect of somebody knocking down the FSA’s perennial obsession with seeking to fix what plainly isn’t broken (complaints against IFA’s less than 1% of the total raised against banks during the last 6 month period reviewed by the FSA). Does that sound like a broken business model? I hardly think so. And

    2. Life for everybody would become immensely better and easier if the entire legislative framework governing pensions were to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch. If that were done, then there’d be no need for all these tiresome exams and, more to the point, ordinary people would be encouraged to invest in a pension plan.

    The UK has a huge crisis of ordinary people not saving for retirement and it’s got damn all to do with under-qualified IFA’s.

    By all means, study for and pass lots of exams and get lots of letters after your name if you consider it will equip you better to deal with the sorts of clients who come to you for advice. Nothing wrong with that, except that exams aren’t necessarily the right, or even a manageable, way forward for many IFA’s who’ve been doing a perfectly honest and competent job for decades.

  54. A lot of companies and advisers have been doing exams for a good 18 months to ensure they are ready by 2012. The exams aren’t easy, but a decent competent adviser can pass them. If you can’t pass them, well……? Keep lobbying for them to be scrapped I suppose?

  55. Poster at 11.49
    when in the last 15 years was it a requirement to take these exams?
    I’m glad for you that you seem to enjoy these exams but a lot of us DON’T!

  56. Very few IFA’s would claim not to benefit from ongoing training. Most embrace their responsibilities of competency and look to improve their knowledge on an ongoing basis.
    The problem is the attitude of the FSA. They have been tarnished with the banking problems and are now looking for whipping boys to evidence that they are getting tough with regulation!
    How would the Law Society or the Inst of Chartered Accountants or the Royal Collage of Nursing react to being told that members who qualified between say 1970 and 1994 need to re-qualify if they wish to continue trading?
    The reality of the problem is that despite the number of bodies that purport to represent the IFA, we do not speak in one voice. If we did, things might be different! We don’t even have a combined voice to fight the quasi – Judge, Jury and executioner that is the FOS.
    Looking from the outside, if Financial Services were a country – human rights, the right of appeal, equality and fairness have yet to be granted to the populous.

  57. Few Points:

    Qualifications
    To echo a few comments previously made, would you be able to practice medicine with just A-lebel Biology & Chemistry?? Thought not!! Our industry is probably one of the few where you’re effectively allowed to practice with very little in terms of ‘proper’ qualifications. Ok, so most of you still have just FP3 – woopie do!! Too many people have had it far too easy for too long; many ‘old school’ advisers have earned more than nough over the years to put their hands into their pockets and shell out to take the reqd exams.

    Pandering
    Yep, AIFA and the Tories are pandering to the masses again – now we’re in election year. As with most ‘hard-to-face’ issues in this country (eg QE, debt levels), we just have to bite the bullet and get on with addressing it properly – ie getting FULLY qualified and becoming more professional with our TCF/attitudes … … (Fisher’s comments recently are a classic example of a step into the ‘bad old days’)

    Timetable
    We do NEED a timetable – otherwise nowt gets sorted. Period. If 2012 isn’t achieveable, when is?? … … we’ll end up just letting things roll along indefinitely. Should we just wait until ALL ‘old-school’ advisers have retired then make the radical changes reqd??

  58. For new authorisations, the FSA do not accept newly qualified advisers unless experience on the job is proven (up to 6 months quoting Threshold Conditions not satisfied), so why should they require existing brokers to have additional qualifications. For new entrants there may be an argument for specified qualifications, but it is ludicrous to require existing operators in market to be disallowed from practising without addtional qualifications. Bad brokers will be found out anyway with compliants, so don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The banks have proved themselves incompetent and the FSA should not drive “free” new business to them.

  59. Why so many anonymous responses? What are you afarid of?

    In reply to the “If the Tories do focus on “on the job” training and “experience” it will ultimately prove detrimental to the industry. Just because somebody has been in the industry for 30 years does not mean they are any good!! Would anyone out there have an operation from a surgeon that called himself a “surgeon” but did not have the qualifications to demonstrate his technial capability. I for one would choose the surgeon who had proved and demonstarted this technical ability. When will these advisers who cling to their worthless FPC3 certificate get the message – it is time for signifcant change”.

    Maybe someone who has been practicing for thirty years is better than you think? I suspect that your comment is based on the fact that you have “qualifications”. Don’t assume that the argument is based around having just FPC3 either. I have AFPC qualifications that I took back in 1995 when I was not very busy. Since then I am pleased to say my business has taken off and I am a very busy man. I am 57 in April and all I ask is why there is an emphasis on exams with no acceptance whatsoever of experience or even CPD?

    Where is the fairness in asking someone in the twilight of their career to reach a level of qualifications by a certain date without acknowledging experience and CPD to date? One minute they are allowed to practice the next they are not. I invite any of you to come and visit my practice and see for yourself that the advice I give is good, consistent, and does not cost the earth either!

  60. I would like to associate myself with the earlier analogy of the person who says he has lots of experience in surgery but no specialist qualifications – would you allow your son or daughter to be operated on by such a person.

    People are entrusting their livelihoods to us.

    I market via accountants and they are disgusted by even what the diploma standard means in terms of QCA.

    If you can’t stand the heat……………………….

  61. I do not share the view that “experience” and “on the job training” need to lead to a lot of bad advisers slipping through the RDR net.

    Some years ago, when accountants active in financial services wished to be grandfathered into authorisation (pre-FSA) under the rules then operative, I was on the Institute of Chartered Accountants panel which reviewed applications and, largely on the basis of case studies and accounts of experience, decided who were sufficiently competent to be admitted. This weeded out the chaff. Provided that there is a decent system to test the competence of existing advisers without going to a full examination process, this should cause the least disruption and remove the fears of advisers in the later stages of their careers that they will have to leave the industry. I have a lot of criticism of RDR but what I want to see in the long run is an industry that is seen by the public as maintaining the same professional standards as solicitors and accountants and which enjoys similar respect.

  62. The whole question is not about exams v no exams. The point is whether or not the fsa have the legal authority to move the goalposts whenever they see fit. If they do, then what is to stop them, say in another 5 years moving the goalposts even further? A lot of advisers may be able to attain level 4 or even level 6 but who is to say the fsa will be happy with that?
    I agree that obtaining the necessary qualifications should not be too difficult for any competent adviser, the problem is if you are running a business at the moment, with all that entails, there is no easy way to find the time to study for exams which may or may not enable you to carry on advising for another year or two. The trouble with the fsa is that they have huge departments with even bigger budgets to carry through any new developments. The IFA on the other hand usually has to find the time for whatever the fsa thows at him. This is what the fsa do not understand.They do not live in the same world as the rest of us. That is why it is easy for them to keep churning out pointless, time consuming, expensive, new initiatives like TCF, which, by their own admission, has not delivered the consumer outcomes the fsa had hoped for. As long as the fsa has the power to exact change for the sake of it, they will.How will they justify their very expensive existence otherwise?
    What do you suppose will happen 10 years from now when we will know for sure that the whole rdr has not improved very much within financial services except to give the banks more customers? Those parties with a vested interest will simply spout a few soothing soundbites in the hope of further deceiving the uninitiated.

  63. I suggest that instead of posting on here all IFA e-mail Nigel Waterson and thank him for his stance. His e-mail address is: watersonn@parliament.uk

    Finally, lets get this straight because there are some comments on here that misrepresent IFAs.

    Peter Hamilton barrister at law says:

    Following the RDR, the FSA is intending to raise professional standards and to introduce new rules for the qualifications for IFAs. So far so good: no one would complain about the raising of standards if there is reasonable room for improvement. But the FSA is saying that it will not permit IFAs who are currently qualified and authorised under Financial Services and Markets Act to continue to practice under the future new rules unless they requalify. To put it in the jargon: there will be no grandfathering. There are good arguments for saying that that is not lawful. The FSMA does not permit the FSA to cancel an authorisation simply because the FSA has changed its views on what the appropriate qualifications should be. To give current IFAs time in which to requalify is to mitigate the situation but it does not make lawful that which is unlawful. It is one thing to impose new rules on new entrants to the IFA profession. It is quite another thing to disqualify someone who is currently qualified. In other professions, the initial qualifications for admission to the profession may well be raised for new entrants, but it is standard practice for existing members to be permitted to continue to practice without having to requalify. To take one example, the examinations for those seeking to become barristers have become much more demanding over the last 40 years, but no barrister who qualified under the earlier rules has been required to requalify under the later requirements or face expulsion.

    Every professional needs to keep up to date with relevant developments. Formal requirements imposed on existing members of a profession to undertake courses designed to keep members up to date are acceptable and are part of a profession’s seeking to maintain standards. But that is not the same as requiring an individual to requalify for membership of the profession because new entry requirements have been introduced.

  64. Michael J. Hollingdale 18th November 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Wonderful these lovely people who like to write anonymous comments – I can only identify my anonymous one by the fact that his posting is dated 18th November and timed at 9.06am !!

    I am 66 years of age and enjoy my job, have a very successful practice and would like very much to continue so long as my brain continues to function properly.

    In reality I could perhaps look forward to another 10 years if I am lucky but if RDR and examination requirements remain as suggested the chances of my ageing brain being able to absorb all of the information is highly unlikely and I shall be out of work come 2012.

    I am not sure how old Mr Anonymous is but I have been authorised by FSA, PIA, Fimbra and even NASDIM (National Association of Security Dealers & Investment Managers) – had I been a danger to the public and no good at my job complaints could well have led me to be disqualified – presumably then after some 30 years there is a real chance that I am not going to be a threat to the public and after all it is under the guise of ‘Protecting the Public’ that these qualifications are being promoted.

    Finally I am bound to say that probably 90% if not more of all the information and facts I am expected to absorb have absolutely no relevance to my day to day activity of advising clients in respect of Pensions, retirement planning and investments – if indeed any aspects arise of which I have a shortfall of information I certainly know where to obtain it.

    Come on November the 18th 9.06am – expose yourself !!

  65. I actually cannot believe how many advisers in this industry call themselves ‘qualified advisers’ with only FPC. A 10 year old could pass that! If those over 50 have bad memories and struggle to take on new facts then how they keep up with the everchanging legislation in all areas of finacnial planning I do not know! If they really are technical and knowledgable advisers then the prospect of a few exams should not worry them. And the level certainly is not ‘degree level’ as one commenter has suggested – I did G10 and G20 on the same day whilst also working 10 hour days. Bring on RDR!

  66. I do hope somebody is listening too the ifa sector, most ifa,s are hard working, honest and do a good job for there clients, i think time and experiance do count for a lot, plus a lot of trust as been built up between adviser/client.how is the ifa going to tell his/her clients that as from the 1st of january 2012 they are no longer fit to give advice. What message is this going too send out to his/her clients.
    I do belive that ongoing exams on knowledge are a good thing, but don,t put a time date on everthing, this i belive puts a lot a lot of ifas under a lot of pressure, and more so in these economic times.
    I also think that modules should be brought out to suit each individules practice, and ifa,s sit the exams on what they are giving advice on, but if they come across a client that they have not got knowledge on , they can then pass this client on to a third party.
    Wake up fsa, you are going to loose a lot for
    good ifas, and do remember who pays your wages, because if we go, you are sure to follow, because you will have nobody to monitor.

  67. ‘I do hope somebody is listening too the ifa sector, most ifa,s are hard working, honest and do a good job for there clients, i think time and experiance do count for a lot, plus a lot of trust as been built up between adviser/client.how is the ifa going to tell his/her clients that as from the 1st of january 2012 they are no longer fit to give advice. What message is this going too send out to his/her clients.
    I do belive that ongoing exams on knowledge are a good thing, but don,t put a time date on everthing, this i belive puts a lot a lot of ifas under a lot of pressure, and more so in these economic times.
    I also think that modules should be brought out to suit each individules practice, and ifa,s sit the exams on what they are giving advice on, but if they come across a client that they have not got knowledge on , they can then pass this client on to a third party.
    Wake up fsa, you are going to loose a lot for
    good ifas, and do remember who pays your wages, because if we go, you are sure to follow, because you will have nobody to monitor.’

    Priceless!!!!

  68. A coment to “anonymous” – obviously a passionate believer in his mantra – just because someone has every qualification available does not make him or her any good either. Furthermore history has proved this point on more that one occasion. Plainly better qualified advisers would benefit the advice seeking community, but surely some common sense has to prevail in terms of an adviser’s age.

  69. Why do people wish to champion these exams. I recently sat J04 course and exam and I must say “what a load of Jibber” I now know the answers to questions I never asked. I have demonstrated my ability to memorise State Benefit calculations, memorise lists and responsibilities of governing bodies, I can spout calculations that I will never use and can now quote occupational benefit figures, dates and legislation without the aid of the tables. The whole course concentrated on:
    the very poor
    the very wealthy
    the very fin. salaried
    The shame is that I major on mainstream small biz people. It’s not covered because its not very difficult.
    Well, nor is J04 the only difficulty is answering “why am I here?”

    Whether these tests are easy or hard is irrelevant. Are they useful or is it lip-service to demonstrate your ability to take on info. (just like Uni) I learned absolutely nothing useful!

  70. Eric here again, sorry for the delay to Anonymous who asked me to respond to his post earlier today, but unlike him I have had to work today with clients and not sit in an office (probably being spoon fed his clients) trying to wind up the true hard working advisers by posting drivel. As there are so many anonymous posters it is difficult to know if the wind up posts are from the same person. Maybe their Accountancy firms read the posts and tell them to get back to their studies? Come on be brave tell us your name(s)!!!!

  71. Haven’t red all of all of the posts but seems to me they broadly fall into for or against.

    I agree that the exams that we have all been required to pass are pretty basic. However, I know of no IFA whose head of knowledge has remained at that level (but I suspect someone can prove me wrong).

    As far as I can see there are two issues; 1) Why are IFAs being treated so very differently to other occupations and why does FSA seem intent on continuing it’s onerous actions in light of the ongoing evidence that actually IFAs in the main cause no harm, or certainly cause less harm that other parts of the financial advice sector.

    The second issue is the qualifications debate. For those of you who are well qualified, congratulations, I admire you.

    Yes of course we can all point to well qualified idiots and those on the other side of the debate will just as rightly point to non qualified idiots. Idiots exist regardless of qualifications or non qualifications.

    Surely the real issue is competence. It is perfectly possible for an individual to be extremely competent without being qualified” and in my view those of us in the industry without the requisite “qualifications” should be able to demonstrate to an independent body our competence.

    This could be done by way of an examination or examinations that are not as onerous as the ones suggested and/or via some form of modular work which does not require the memory of an elephant but requires us to know where to go for the answer, in exactly the same way that a qualified person knows where to go to look for the answer to a question he does not know the answer to.

    Competence not qualification is the key. en mi opinion

  72. RDR – just what the industry needed.

    After speaking to many IFAs over the years I have to say that the ones I would place my own money with can be counted on my fingers.

    Exams – the industry is doing you a favour if you can’t remember the rules. It’s better to retire than have a claim on your PI.

    Fees – Pick up the phone to a client and now be paid (like a solicitor). If your clients wont pay it….. they dont rate you.

    Charges – the huge smoke screen of the insurance industry. Lets make it obvious how much is being charged and where its going to.
    Could this be the end of the bad fund manager?.

    Holistic financial planning – how much is HONESTLY being done?. Surely it’s mainly product pushing as it pays well.

    Two little words – tax allowances. they can now be used in the process.

    WRAPS ? A way of complicating things and justifying huge amounts of trail commission.

    The industry wants more young people to come in to it…… move over – its just about to happen.

    Oh… WP Bonds. A vehicle for IFas who are not very good at financial advice.

  73. I am 70 years old and have been a chartered engineer for 45 years. It took me 8 years to attain this status and have not taken an exam since qualifying. I am also an IFA and am still taking examinations! Lets be serious about the main objective of saving a dying financial services sector from melt down, which is still only just available to 95% of the population. RDR is currently insignificant compared to the real problems facing the financial sector.

  74. wish “anonymous” had the courage to name themselves

  75. Finally a voice of reason. All exams prove is that you can pass exams. They have no bearing on experience, quality of service, on going CPD or how comfortable clients are with using you for their financial advice needs now and in the future.

  76. Is Eric Shun really a real name, really?

  77. My only comment is I think that MM need to do something about anon postings. Let’s have the ability to only read those willing to put their name quoting theri FSA number next to it and perhaps some of the insults from both sides of the for and against will reduce and we might actually have an adult discussion and see one anothers views which might change our own.

  78. Don’t have a go at us young wippa snappers.

    Correct, we’re not going to have the experiance you have. But we’ll be a damb site better knowledge than what you had when you started. Plus it takes a good few years to get all the qualifications. How long before you were able to start advising 10 – 20 – 30 years ago.

    It go to be a better starting ground hasn’t it.

  79. Patrick J. O'Doherty Dip PFS 20th November 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I am surprised that so many have chosen to remain anonymous. If they feel strongly enough on the subject they should have the courage of their convictions. Meanwhile I regard an anonymous comment as useless and I imagine “the powers that be” will treat such comments with the disdain they deserve.
    As to the subject matter I already hold the required qualifications and so it does not concern me personally but I believe it is very unfair to expect existing qualified advisers to re-sit new qualifications. No other profession is required to resit examinations however long since they graduated. If doctors and solicitors were required to do what we are expoected to do the NHS would be in turmoil and the Law Society would be memberless.

  80. Hello confused souls….

    Yes, just because you have exams doesn’t mean you can get to know what makes clients tick and subsequently give them the best solutions.

    Yes, just because you’ve been advising for 20 years doesn’t mean you can pass all exams straight away.

    At the end of the day, it is embarrassing that IFAs with such few qualifications are allowed to plan and control clients wealth. This, considering how hard accountancy, legal and other professional exams are.

    I’ve sat most of the Cii moneymakers exams. Yes, they do ask for irrelevant points, but the FACT is – they ain’t hard!

    Just stop moaning and get on with learning some more material and passing exams. Otherwise just become paraplanners and write reports for qualified advisers. That way, you can highlight additional areas once (completed!) factfinds are thrown at you!

  81. Sorry Phil – whats the big fuss about people not giving their name? Everyone is different. If you disagree with a comment, ignore it! If people want to get personal, so be it…

    I’m sure those with loads of qualifications are most likely cleverer and so have little time getting into personal battles……than the majority of dimmys out there who think having FPC is enough to be classed as a professional!

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