Academy workshops open for LTC advisers
Symponia has launched a learning resource to help raise standards for IFAs who specialise in long-term care fees planning.
The national professional body for specialist long-term care advisers has introduced the Symponia Academy for its members, which will provide an interactive online community and regional workshops designed to enhance the competency of IFAs across a range of subjects.
Symponia co-founder and managing director Janet Davies said the workshops were designed as a solution to issues raised by its members, and would give them the confidence and authority to broach difficult and unpalatable subjects.
She added: “The recent FSA statement, after months of deliberating and stalling, finally paves the way for a new beginning - one where long-term care is given its rightful place and where non-qualified or non-interested advisers will have to refer to others.
“But those qualified advisers receiving the referrals must make sure that they are at the top of their game, understand the legislation, the processes and know exactly how to respond to the clients of their colleagues.
“It is vital that clients understand all their options, whether care is needed now or at an unknown time in the future, and that they are seen by advisers who have a vision of the whole picture.
“Symponia Academy will equip members in this way. For example, our master class on immediate care plans responds to the alarm and confusion raised following the NHFA debacle at the end of last year.”
Last year, HSBC paid out £10.5m in compensation after NHFA were ruled by the FSA to have given inappropriate advice to elderly customers.
Symponia currently boasts 92 members across the UK. Ms Davies said: “The academy is a member only resource, but we still have space on the workshops for new members. We would welcome any IFA who works in the long-term care field and who is looking for support on what can be a very difficult and technical subject.
“Everybody knows the current system is unfair, but we also know that there is no more money in the pot as far as any government initiatives are concerned. What the IFA industry needs to do is to press home to the younger people, who are now in their 50’s or 60’s, that they need to be a little bit more pragmatic in their thinking and look at planning for long term care. One in four people will need care at some point.”
Rhys Everitt, director of Gwynedd-based IFA Cadw Mi Gei, said: “The academy is a great idea, and a big help for advisers. I’m one of just a few specialists in this field in North Wales so any support network is valuable, especially as it can be an emotive and complicated subject. This is not simple advice.”
Go to www.symponia.co.uk for more information