Succession Group has set aside £50,000 to push its financial planners to achieve QCA level six qualifications.
Simon Chamberlain, chief executive of Succession, said he decided to make the investment as he felt that while level four qualifications were “a great achievement, it is just the beginning of our journey.”
He added: “The retail distribution review successfully increased professional standards for advisers. The benefits of a more professional industry are clear and the challenge is to maintain the knowledge, skills and competence.
“Wealthy people have high expectations, and our commitment to higher qualifications will clearly demonstrate our knowledge, experience, integrity and professionalism to clients as we help them identify, achieve and maintain their desired lifestyle, without the fear of running out of money.”
Succession has more than 60 financial planners within the national advisory firm who will now look to pass the IFP’s Principles of Financial Planning examination.
Steve Gazzard, chief executive of the Institute for Financial Planning, said: “The FCA has no plans to increase the current minimum qualification standards of advisers, and so we applaud Succession Group for making higher level qualifications a key part of its proposition.
“CFPCM certification is the only globally recognised mark of excellence for financial planners, combining both the advanced knowledge and skills to deliver long-term value to clients.
“Succession Group’s financial planners will be aiming to join this elite group of distinguished practitioners and we look forward to supporting them on their journey.”
Succession’s decision to push planners to level six comes despite the regulator announcing in November 2014 that it had no plans to raise the qualification level for financial advisers.
Rory Percival, technical specialist at the FCA, told the Personal Finance Society’s national conference in Birmingham, that advisers had “taken strides” to turn the industry into a profession, with more advisers going beyond diploma status.
However, he ruled out raising the qualification bar that advisers have to reach.
Simon Chamberlain’s comments came as a surprise to many industry commentators who had predicted the minimum level would be raised to level six even before the RDR requirements for advisers to attain a level four qualification came into force.
Back in 2013, Malcolm Kerr, executive director for Ernst & Young’s financial services division, said he envisioned level six being the new entry level by 2016.