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Alternative assessment has potential for extension: NMBA

The chief executive of the NMBA said the assessment programme, which was designed specifically for advisers who disliked traditional exam-based qualifications, had been a success and it could be rolled out to other areas.

The not-for-profit academy was established in 2008, and is part of the SimplyBiz Group. It currently has more than 14,500 registered users.

The assessment programme evaluated advisers through sample cases, along with supporting documentation, covering investment, pensions and tax. It took between three and six months to complete.

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Mr Travis said: “A lot of advisers, who may not have sat traditional exams for a number of years, told us that they found the alternative assessment a rewarding experience.

“Post-RDR we are now focusing on the ongoing training requirements of advisers and we believe there is potential to introduce the assessment for specialist areas.

“That’s the way things are moving now. There is a lot of demand for specialist qualifications, not just training to tick the regulatory box.”

He added that he had concerns on the lack of young people seeking careers as advisers, citing apprentice schemes run in conjunction with the NMBA and a graduate scheme run by the Financial and Legal Skills partnership as two solutions.

Mr Travis said: “If we don’t attract more talent, it will be to the detriment of the profession in years to come.

“Attracting new blood has always been on our agenda, and even more so in the current climate.”

Adviser View

Denis Vance, partner of County Down-based The Brokerage, said: “Having undertaken the NMBA’s alternative assessment, I got much more out of it than an exam. I had to delve into case studies and develop a great understanding of them, so would welcome such assessments for other qualifications.”