The chief executive of deVere Group said he had been aware of the criticism made in some online forums over the past few years about the qualification status of advisers working for the international firm.
Many of the negative comments on unregulated sites, such as PissedConsumer, focused around the deVere group recruiting UK financial advisers who were level three qualified, but allegedly not QCF level four, the FCA’s required status to provide investment advice in the UK under RDR.
While he would not be drawn into specifics, it is understood some of the comments may have been posted by ex-employees and by rival firms operating in the international expatriate market.
However, Mr Green said the comments had provoked “plenty of thought”. He said: “We take training seriously in the deVere Group, both in terms of soft-skills, such as adapting to the different cultures across the world, and relating to different regulatory regimes in which we operate.
“So to read such criticisms makes you stop and take things on board. Is there an element of truth? Even if not, do we need to react? You have to be careful with anything that you see online. You can search ‘Sugar is Good’ and find a host of articles telling you this. You can search ‘Sugar is Bad’ and find even more. You can’t let what you see online knock you down or shift your focus.
“But we do make sure that any adviser undergoes training specific to the jurisdiction in which they operate. For example, in the US, advisers have to take Series 65, for basic financial advice, and then to progress, they must take the higher level Series 7.”
Speaking from his office in Dubai, Mr Green stressed that advisers do not have to take the higher level to do their job, adding: “But we state that if anyone is to get a promotion in the firm, they must take exams and qualifications and demonstrate a commitment to learning. It shows the clients that we are serious.”