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CII reassures advisers fearing they'll fail re-test

CII reassures advisers fearing they'll fail re-test

Advisers who take the re-assessment of their level four diploma and fail will not lose their existing qualification.

Yesterday (5 September) the Financial Conduct Authority and the Chartered Insurance Institute announced they had created a re-assessment test for advisers with the level four diploma so they can make sure their knowledge is still up to scratch.

While use of the test is voluntary, the regulator has warned it may force advisers to take it if deemed necessary.

It is understood that while advisers who take the test voluntarily and fail will not have their qualifications annulled but they may have to agree a plan to address their professional development.

Meanwhile it is also understood the FCA could force advisers to sit the exam if it finds instances of poor advice, particularly where these relate to specific advisers.

The level four diploma in financial planning became the standard when the Retail Distribution Review came into force at the start of 2013, and advisers must complete a minimum of 35 hours continuous professional development each year.

Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said the test would provide an additional option for advisers to meet their continued professional development requirements.

He said: "There are no downsides to using the system for learning and to test knowledge but it is completely voluntary and therefore is for firms or individuals to decide on the most appropriate route or combination of routes to use to meet their specific needs.

"Where principals or the regulator sees evidence of a knowledge gap in individuals, the system would offer a more robust and focused solution for remedial action and reinstatement of activities for the individuals concerned."

The test will contain 100 questions across areas of the CII's R01 to 5 syllabi, prioritised by the potential for impact on the suitability of advice.

The CII will make the Regulated Retail Investment Adviser Re-Evaluation available from 1 October and advisers will be able to book a test from 17 September.

damian.fantato@ft.com