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Home > Opinion > FTAdviser Blog > Marc Shoffman's blogs


Is the CII just doing its job?

As I sit here and write this blog, I am in the company of graduates of English Literature, European politics and languages, philosophy and theology, and some with no degree. Yet we are all able to be journalists.

By Marc Shoffman | Published Aug 16, 2012 | comments

It is with this reasoning that I have struggled to understand the Chartered Insurance Institute’s policy on all its members having the same level of qualification, which happens to be their own level four one, even if an applicant has an equivalent diploma or certificate from elsewhere.

According to the CII, the policy is meant to ensure standards are consistent across all qualifications and members.

This means any adviser joining the accredited body with a non-CII level four qualification will have to prove their credentials and even take more exams to meet different standards.

What does this say about equivalent bodies? Is the Institute of Financial Services or the Institute of Financial Planning less professional than the CII?

Is it appropriate for the CII to make itself judge and jury over the qualifications of members? After all, level four has been set as the industry standard by the FSA.

Alternatively, is the CII within its rights as a membership organisation to have consistency among its advisers?

Qualifications should not be the only benchmark in any industry but, unfortunately, qualifications seem to be so in the advisory space.

Maybe the problem does not lie with the CII, but with the FSA. It was after all, the City watchdog that set the qualification requirements and made it so that an adviser’s competence is judged by their ability to complete a multiple choice exam ahead of years of experience and client relationships.

While rightly or wrongly, anyone with a pen, paper, dictaphone and a strong liver can be a journalist, the FSA has said only some people can be advisers.

So while it is questionable as to why the CII feels it can set its own standards on qualifications, as hard as this is to stomach, it was the FSA that started it.

The CII may be right to want to protect its members but really the FSA is at fault for creating an environment where professional bodies can behave this way.


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