Well, it is a journey and it looks like it is going to be a challenging one. Unfortunately, I failed my AF 4 investment planning exam in the April sitting. I was not alone, as I understand only about 45 per cent passed this exam. These are challenging exams.
I can appreciate they have to be testing at advanced diploma level, however, I think it highlights the additional support some members will require to go through this exam process on route to chartered status.
I did have great intentions prior to receiving my exam results where I was going to start studying for my next AF subject with plenty of time to spare and had even ordered coursebooks for AF2 business financial planning, which looked like an interesting subject.
Now it is September and my next chance to resit AF4 is on October 20. I would have preferred a longer period to work on AF4 but don’t really want to leave it until April 2011. I will therefore be considering whether to put a real push on for the next month or so and give the exam a further attempt in October. I will also make enquiries as to what additional support is available from the Personal Finance Society and Chartered Insurance Institute to support members with these studies. I understand there is a two-day CII revision course which I may attend.
I have already been discussing with the PFS and CII some ideas where further support could be provided and I know they are very keen to support more members to become chartered financial planners. If any Money Marketing readers have any suggestions or ideas we would love to hear from you as to what more could be done in support.
As with other advisers and PFS members, the study is important but it is only part of our busy daily lives. I have a young family and the commitments that go with that as well as involvement in other clubs and organisations that require my time and support. There are also the daily challenges of running a busy IFA business.
I have been very impressed with the PFS and CII so far and the pace in which they introduced the new diploma in regulated financial planning and the suite of “R” exams to help advisers achieve level 4. These are much more flexible as to when and how to study and sit exams. I understand since launch there has been around 2,500 bookings already.
Advisers are in need of support at the moment and I am delighted to hear about and promote the CII’s new qualification gap-fill tool to assist advisers with the gap between a transitional qualification and the new FSSC exam standards. This is receiving final testing and is due to be released any day. It is simple to use and free for members to make life easier. I personally will benefit from this tool and know many thousands of members will also.
As with other advisers, I still have a lot of work to do but I have set my goals. It will be a tremendous personal achievement to reach gold standard and will bring many business advantages and opportunities.
In the meantime, back to the books.