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CII exam sittings treble to 76,000

The Chartered Insurance Institute saw the number of exam sittings more than double in 2011 as advisers look to next year’s deadline for the retail distribution review.

A total of 76,000 sittings were provided in 2011 compared to 36,000 in 2010, an increase of 111 per cent.

The picture was even more dramatic towards the end of 2011. In December the number of seats provided was 7000, nearly a threefold increase on the 2500 places available in June 2010.

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Lucy Grubb, media relations manager for the CII, said the increase in numbers suggested many advisers appeared to be planning ahead to ensure they are fully RDR-compliant well ahead of the deadline.

She added: “Exam centres have seen a consistent increase in demand in the past 18 months. As a result we do not expect a last-minute rush among advisers to sit exams in order to meet RDR requirements.”

Miss Grubb said the CII would monitor the situation throughout 2012 and work to ensure any increased demand would be met.

The figures come amid complaints from advisers about delays and difficulties in obtaining suitable exam slots at exam centres.

The CII said such backlogs were isolated cases and did not reflect wider issues. Advisers looking to complete their exams in 2012 should be able to do so, as long as they plan ahead.

The Institute of Financial Planning, which offers training for advisers with transitional qualifications and who need to complete gap-fill, made a similar point.

Sue Whitbread, communications director of the IFP, recommended advisers act sooner rather than later. She said: “Get it done early rather than risk leaving it late and falling foul of the regulations. There are plenty of opportunities to undertake structured continuing professional development throughout 2012 but the later people leave it then the fewer opportunities they will have and the more challenges they will therefore face.”