Calibrand boss warns advisers on RDR exams
The majority of IFAs will have to take gap-filling exams to comply with the retail distribution review even if they have a diploma, the boss of e-assessment provider has warned.
Denis Saunders, managing director of Calibrand, dismissed the rumour that anyone with an existing diploma will not need to take any exams and said advisers will need to cover all the learning outcomes on the RDR syllabus and this may be best done by taking an exam.
He said: "There is a particular worry at the moment that advisers feel they will be able to qualify by gap-fill alone. Worse, some advisers feel they have to do nothing at all."
Mr Saunders spoke during a discussion entitled 'myth and reality of a profession certification' at the European - Association of Test Publishers conference that was held in Spain from 29 September to 1 October.
He said: "In the short term we recommend that advisers take an exam covering financial services, regulation and ethics because the gap-fill in this area is significant. The cost of assessing gap-fill could be much more than sitting a straightforward exam."
Mr Saunders said that every learning outcome on the RDR-compliant level 4 syllabus needed to be covered and that none of the transitional qualifications would cover them all. Unless one of the new RDR compliant qualifications are taken, gap-fill will be required for advisers wishing to practice after 2012.
The FSA has said that IFAs must reach the level 4 qualification in order to carry on offering advice after 2012.
Joel Barrett, IFA for Hertfordshire-based Barretts Financial Solutions, said: "I totally agree with Mr Saunders. I've been in the industry three years so I am actively doing exams to my improve my knowledge and understanding.
"I think IFAs will have to do a lot more in the run up to RDR. It's important to always keep one step ahead of the game so I think it's vital that advisers get investment qualifications as things get more complicated. IFAs should know this complex area well otherwise they are not doing any justice to themselves or their clients."
Calibrand, along with the Scottish Qualifications Authority, provide the diploma in professional financial advice.
It was launched last month as the education body looked to take 5 to 10 per cent of market share ahead of RDR.
The course has been approved by the FSA as one of the new RDR-compliant qualifications and Calibrand intends to offer more gap-fill solutions from 2011.