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.