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How to tick the CPD box for RDR

Welcome to the post-RDR world. Under the new regulations it will be necessary to be qualified to QCF level 4, have a statement of professional standing (SPS) from one of the 12 designated accrediting bodies and use a new adviser charging model.

But the RDR was always about more than increased qualification barriers and a remuneration overhaul to remove the perception of commission bias. The professionalism being brought into the sector also introduces increased ongoing development requirements for advisers.

Previously there was no prescribed minimum amount of time an adviser had to spend undertaking continuing professional development (CPD) and no demonstration of the value of any learning undertaken was required. Advisers were expected to commit to furthering their professional knowledge, but the process was unencumbered by strict processes or specific demands.

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Structured learning

Now, to obtain an SPS, an adviser must be able to prove they are undertaking a minimum of 35 hours’ worth of CPD each year. In addition, 21 of these hours must be ‘structured’, that is they must be part of a clearly defined learning framework.

This means, for example, that the amount of time an adviser might spend each week reading an industry magazine such as Investment Adviser – once a suitable CPD activity on the basis that reading about ongoing industry developments keeps knowledge up to date – will no longer be a viable submission for much of his CPD time.

As such, there have been concerns that the new requirements will prove onerous for advisers already juggling the management of their business and effective servicing of clients in a more demanding consumer-orientated post-RDR world.

If predictions that the “structured” process will eventually become the minimum standard for all continuing development activities prove prescient, this is only likely to intensify. Many also believe an increased focus on demonstrating the knowledge attained from any learning is going to further raise the required standard of eligible CPD in the future.

Steve Aspinall, director of corporate development at the Chartered Insurance Institute, says that under the current rules, proving the value of any learning over and above simply meeting the criteria for structured learning will constitute a “gold standard”. In time, he says, this will become a basic requirement of all CPD.

Meeting the new requirements

In order to help advisers meet these demands, Investment Adviser’s website, FTAdviser.com, has launched the unique CPD Tracker solution. The tracker aims to help advisers build up structured CPD efficiently while reading content written for the newspaper and the website, which would otherwise not qualify towards this.

Certain educational features, special reports and adviser guides published in Investment Adviser and on FTAdviser.com will be included within the tool, which is free to use and fully accredited by the CII. Relevant CPD content will be available to read in print and online in the usual fashion.