Opinion 

Little faith in re-evaluation assessment

Marlene Outrim

Marlene Outrim

Do we lose our knowledge over time? How much do people forget?

Research on the forgetting curve shows that within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50 per cent of the information they received.

Within 24 hours, they have forgotten an average of 70 per cent of new information, and within a week, forgetting claims an average of 90 per cent of it.

Some people remember, but in general, the situation is poor: no matter how much is invested into training and development, nearly everything taught to employees will be forgotten. Indeed, although companies spend millions a year on training, this investment is like pumping fuel into a car that has a hole in the tank. All the hard work simply drains away.

With the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Chartered Insurance Institute announcing a new test last week, to reassess whether advisers with the level four diploma in financial planning still have sufficient knowledge, it is worth asking: is this worthwhile or is it just another money-making project for the CII?

This new test will be available from1 October, to be called the Regulated Retail Investment Adviser Re-Evaluation assessment.

We, as advisers must complete at least 35 hours of continuous professional development a year, which is designed to keep our knowledge up to date, but, the FCA notes that: “Not all firms test their advisers’ knowledge yearly as part of their Statement of Professional Standing, with many advisers never retesting”.

In a statement, the regulator said: “We believe that advisers having a good level of knowledge is the foundation to giving sound financial advice. This is particularly the case with the more technical aspects of financial advice.”

One of the objectives of this test is to raise the competence and standards of advice, but should not the bar be higher and introduce level six qualifications, with CPD aligned to that learning, rather than a rehash of 100 questions from all the examinations needed for level four?

And should not companies and the management be held responsible for the overall and ongoing advice their firms provide?

It is important to ensure our knowledge remains good, but any decent adviser will keep themselves up to date.

Marlene J Outrim is managing director of Uniq Family Wealth