September is nearly past, meaning we will shortly be in the final quarter of 2010. I am sure I cannot be alone in wondering where has this year gone. With just over two years left now before the RDR implementation deadline, advisers need to take stock of their progress and, ideally, track progress against targets and timelines.
A good example of this that I came across recently was where a member had a big wall chart in the office showing each adviser’s progress towards attaining the diploma qualification. Not only was it a visual reminder, it also encouraged competition between the advisers to pass the finishing post first.
At the PFS, we are also taking stock of progress across our membership.
It is good to know that, of our authorised adviser members, 84 per cent are either fully or partly qualified at the required level and this figure could well be higher as it relates specifically to those who are following the Chartered Insurance Institute route and we are aware that some members are choosing other qualifications.
For those who have taken the CII route, and it seems this is by far the majority, many hold legacy qualifications such as ACII and AFPC.
These early pioneers of higher professional standards are now required to gap-fill their qualification, which to me seems that the FSA is focusing on the wrong part of the adviser community as these people are very likely to have kept up to date with relevant CPD.
But the FSA made the rules, not us, so we need to help members meet the requirements. This is why the CII has developed a gap-filler tool to help members identify their personal qualification gaps.
There has certainly been some confusion over what these gaps represent and, putting it as simply as possible, the FSA compared the current level three exam standards with the new level four standards and listed all the additional subject areas and learning outcomes.
These 132 potential gaps must be covered by CPD before the end of 2012.
Many advisers will have historic CPD that covers some of these areas and this is perfectly acceptable if it meets the learning outcome.
The CII gap-filler has been designed to show how much of the potential gap matrix has been covered by an individual member’s qualification and this will depend on which subjects were taken to achieve their qualification.
Early data shows that most will have covered well over half the content through examinations and, taking into account historic CPD, there should not be a huge amount to do.
The CII has added a considerable amount of guidance and clarification to the gap-filler tool site since its earlier pilot and we are now building up a databank of CPD solutions from plain learning text to face-to-face sessions at PFS regional events and conferences. Together, we are getting there.
Fay Goddard is chief executive of the Personal Finance Society