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By Kevin White | Published Jun 13, 2012

Zurich throws its weight behind NMBA assessment

The head of the academy said the alternative assessment was now the “only realistic option to fulfilling RDR regulations ahead of its implementation in January”, and a viable alternative to the traditional exam-based assessment.

Mr Travis added that, in general, the practical-based qualification was the best way for IFAs to achieve compliance, enabling them to work at their own pace to achieve the diploma in financial advice by drawing on their own methods and experiences and avoiding the need to take exams.

According to figures from NMBA, more than 170 advisers have already enrolled on the assessment, with more expected to join soon, given that there are just six months left until the end of the year.

Mr Travis said: “Interest in the alternative assessment continues to grow. We now have 170 advisers enrolled, with many more inquiries.”

Richard Howells, UK intermediary sales director for Zurich, said the assessment: “Gives advisers an alternative route to achieving their diploma in professional financial advice. Not having the pressure of a series of examinations will appeal to a large number of advisers.”

Mr Travis added: “Zurich has been with us from the outset as one of our three main partners, and we are very happy to have the team on board as sponsors of the academy.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, we wouldn’t be able to continue without support from our partners, and Zurich is very active in the field of financial education and it is working with us for the benefit of the adviser industry.”

His comments followed statistics released earlier this year from the Association of IFAs, which revealed that 1400 advisers still had not embarked on RDR preparations, despite saying that they wanted to continue working in the industry after the 1 January implementation date.

Mark Bex, owner of Cheshire-based MRB Financial Management & Employee Benefit Consultants, said: “I’m a member of SimplyBiz and use NMBA’s services regularly. I’ve just had an RDR session there.

“Zurich agreeing to sponsor the alternative assessment is great news and a good endorsement for what NBMA is trying to achieve.

“I’m not personally going down that route as I only have some gap-fill to complete, but the academy offers great value, is professional and offers excellent learning material.

“The alternative assessment is a great option for experienced advisers who may not be able to take the traditional exam-based RDR compliance route.”

Last month, Financial Adviser reported that Denis Vance, owner of Northern Ireland-based The Brokerage, had become the first adviser to pass the NMBA’s alternative assessment.

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