The FSA will detail its plans for examination alternatives, first tipped by Money Marketing last month, in its retail distribution review consultation paper, due out this Thursday.
IFP chief executive Nick Cann says advisers who expect the assessments to be easier than exams will be disappointed.
He says: “This is not about reducing standards and letting people in the back door. The alternative will be just as testing, but in a different environment.
“Assessors will not be coming in, looking at client work and saying yes, you’re doing a good job. It will be a full assessment of QCF level four.”
Cann adds that development of the work-based assessment will be time-consuming and costly.
He says: “The standards being assessed have to be created and there needs to be consistency of assessment too. More assessors will have to be trained and the training and support needed to prepare advisers will also take time and cost money. This is going to be difficult and expensive, it’s not going to be an easy task.”
Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard says the objective of the assessments are to ensure everybody is at the same standard, regardless of how they are tested.
She says: “There’s a misunderstanding that exists around these assessments. They’re not going to be testing that advisers are competent at doing their everyday job.
“We’re expecting something that will test broadly on skills and knowledge at level four. It’s the only way to achieve a true step change.”
Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “Advisers will have to be operating at a level four standard to take part in this, otherwise they will simply fall at the first hurdle.”