FA week in words (17 August)
“The diplomas are, after all, on the same level of difficulty, but it seems the CII is making people take further exams as a way of creating further revenue for itself.”
That was the view of Michelle Meredith, IFA for Hampshire-based Archway Financial Solutions, who claimed she was faced with a raft of administrative costs from the Institute of Financial Services and CII when she wanted to transfer between the two bodies.
She said: “It seems very much like money grabbing. It is highly frustrating as it seems like a relatively simple exercise.”
The problems arose when she tried to join the CII but was told by the CII that her IFS level four Diploma for Financial Advisers was not at the same level as its own Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning - despite the FSA approving both qualifications for the retail distribution review.
Ms Meredith said: “I was advised by the CII that typically someone coming from the IFS to the CII with the DipFA would only be entitled to the R01 and R06 CII exams.
“I would need another 30 diploma points from the CII in order to get its equivalent diploma.”
Nearly 50 advisory firms have applied for waivers to allow individuals to have an extension to meeting the Retail Distribution Review qualification requirements after 1 January 2013.
A Freedom of Information Act request showed that, with less than five months until the RDR deadline, only 13 applications have so far been approved.
The data showed in 2010 there was one application that was then withdrawn by the firm. In 2011, there were 19, of which one was rejected, 11 were withdrawn and seven were granted. Up to the end of June 2012, there were 27 applications, of which one was rejected, seven were withdrawn and six were granted.
The figures showed that 13 are still under consideration.
However, it appears FSA staff are less qualified.
Fewer than 10 senior directors and board members of the FSA hold relevant financial services qualifications, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Asked how many of the FSA’s intermediary-facing staff and supervisors, and those who conduct visits, were level-four qualified, the regulator said: “The level-four qualifications are not a prerequisite for employment in the FSA.
“The skill set for FSA staff is different to that of financial advisers. Therefore we do not maintain a record of level-four qualifications.”
When asked how many of the FSA’s senior directors and board members had level four or equivalent, how many were chartered and have a master’s degree in finance, the FSA responded that fewer than 10 senior directors held any of those qualifications.
Advisers that have been left orphaned following the collapse of IFA network Honister are planning to apply to become directly authorised rather than commit their future to another network, according to True Potential.
Daniel Harrison, a senior partner at the network and infrastructure provider, said that the firm had taken on more than 100 advisers from Burns Anderson, Sage and Honister since parent company Honister Capital was placed into administration in July.