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Work-based alternative to level-four exam

Work-based assessment will be permitted as an alternative to exams for advisers to reach qualifications credit framework level four.

Last week’s RDR paper prohibits grandfathering and sets out plans for a work-based assessment as an alternative to QCF level four. The Financial Services Skills Council will consult on the new benchmark-appropriate exam standards from mid-August.

The alternative assessment will offer oral versions of writ- ten examinations for investment advisers practising as at June 30 this year and will be withdrawn at the end of 2012. Assessment will be conducted independently by awarding bodies.

But Institute of Financial Planning chief executive Nick Cann warns there is a danger it could be viewed as an easy option.

He says: “I do not think that it will necessarily be much better and there is a lot of work to establish what it might look like so that advisers can ascertain whether it is worthwhile for them or not.”

Cann says questions remain over the standards required and how to achieve consistency with all the different bodies involved. He says: “There are a huge number of problems we need to overcome. They are not insurmountable but are challenging without knowing what those standards might look like.” He adds there is a tight timetable.

Aifa director general Chris Cummings says: “The decision to allow a form of work-based alternative assessments up to 2012 will mean existing advisers will not be forced from the industry. It was important that a rigorous but non-examination-based assessment of qualification level-four competence was available to maintain access to advice.”

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