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Will the QCF level four be open to all?

Should awarding bodies from outside the financial services sector be blocked from developing a QCF level four qualification?

This week’s Money Marketing reveals that the Financial Services Skills Council meets today with interested parties to discuss whether the QCF level four qualification will be restricted to existing professional bodies.

Under the Ofqual framework units can either be shared or restricted. Shared units can be used by any awarding body to develop qualifications, while restricted units can only be accessed by industry bodies.

Does restricting access give existing professional bodies too much control over the qualification? There is an argument that blocking out other bodies, which may include universities, would be anti-competitive.

The Securities and Investment Institute is arguing for the units to be restricted, on the basis that only the professional bodies have a thorough understanding of the financial services market.

Managing director Ruth Martin says: “To us it is all about quality and relevance. We don’t want to see generic awarding bodies develop qualifications without any experience in the sector.”

But Association of Independent Financial Advisers policy director Andrew Strange says it is unacceptable to prevent any bodies from offering financial services qualifications.

He says: “I was unaware there was potential for these units to be anything other than open and transparent. I agree that every qualification must be comparable but having an open set of units so bodies can develop exams or alternative competency assessments is incredibly important.”

Institute of Financial Planning chief executive Nick Cann and Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard agree that the only way forward is to have shared units.

Goddard says: “What’s important is that we have consistent exam content across the awarding bodies and if that means having shared units then so be it.”

Would you like to see the qualification open to any awarding body that takes an interest in it? Or should it be restricted to those with experience in the market?

Are there any concerns over creating a QCF level four oligopoly?

Post your comments below.


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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. what is all the fuss about ?
    we are only talking QL4 here – not proper professional qualifications. The danger with all this confusion is that the public may get the false impression that an adviser with one of these pieces of paper is somehow qualified.
    Q level 4 is totally unnecessary for what most people do – which is to sell product and yet are completely inadequate for complex Independent advice. A public that has difficulty understanding the difference between Independent and Tied is going to be completely confused by all these “professional” examining bodies trying to get their snouts in the trough.

    It is time to abandon the whole idea and to require degree level qualifications for those who claim Independent status – with grandfathering and no change for those who simply sell for a living.

  2. David Campbell BA (Hons) 9th September 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I have recently completed a BA (Hons) Financial Serives and applied for “prior learning accreditatio” to the CII. I have been offered 60 Credits towards advanced Diploma BUT apparently I will still be short of credit units for the diploma!! With over25 years industry experiance I think this is rediculous and proves my theory that it’s all about a money making exercise for the CII and not about qualifications.

  3. The thought Police
    Will control what you think and what you can say is best for your client…………… this is ridiculous and totally anti competetive.

  4. Technical Ability not Exam memory tests
    The people who are making money with all this are CII. I actually had a conversation with a chartered financial planner about this the other day because up to now I only have FPC & MAQ, plus lifetime mortgages exam. I’ve taken numerous internal exams and passed & there’s no doubt I have technical ability but not the external exams the CII demand. I went through all this with the CFP and he agreed the way I work and what I do for clients is no different or lesser advice to clients in any way shape or form than his. I asked him what all the exams had taught him about advice…and he admitted…learning ridiculous amounts of data to pass exams is a bit pointless, just so you can wave a piece of paper in front of a client.

    So I am faced with spending 250 hours studying for a Diploma…what for???!!

    Experience & learned technical ability is far more important to my mind than exam qualifications and this should be demonstrated from actual case studies
    as many are suggesting.

    I’m pretty young but many IFAs are in late 50s/60s and ALL that experience will be lost. It’s daft…

    Exam qualifications do not stop bad advice…it’s the quality of the adviser & his attitude to his clients and how he works that counts!

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