St James's Place  

SJP employees to pay less for CII unit

SJP employees to pay less for CII unit

St James's Place employees will pay less to study the Chartered Insurance Institute's level six accredited vulnerable client unit as a result of the company's investment in the module. 

Earlier this month SJP announced it would be launching an exclusive unit with the professional body tailored to those advisers working with vulnerable clients, with the intention to launch to the wider market after two years. 

But yesterday (September 19) the CII confirmed it would now be opening up the pilot to its wider membership immediately, in response to adviser backlash at the prospect of it being exclusive to SJP. 

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The professional body has now confirmed SJP employees who study the vulnerable client unit will pay "slightly less" than its other members as a result of the investment the advice giant has already made into the scheme. 

SJP employees will pay a discounted £350, compared with the £450 usually charged for an advanced module.

The CII and SJP have been working together to develop the Inclusive Financial Planning Qualification over the past two years, with Edward Grant, divisional director responsible for professional development at SJP, previously saying the company had spent "a huge amount of time and money" to develop the initiative. 

A CII spokesperson said this investment will act as a type of bursary for SJP employees studying the unit, but a cost for wider members was not yet confirmed. 

Mr Grant said: "It was always our intention for this to be a qualification for the wider profession. Having initiated the idea and developed it, we are delighted that the demand is much broader than just the SJP community.

"Ultimately, we are driven by better client outcomes and we see Inclusive Financial Planning as a significant market development in achieving that."

He added: "We are happy to continue with the current agreement with the CII, we are proud that we have supported the development of Inclusive Financial Planning and have not relied on CII members funds to achieve this."

Mr Grant said the question of non-SJP adviser terms and costs of the unit was one "for the CII not SJP". 

The CII said it had always been the intention to ultimately make the unit available to the whole market and Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said he full understood the "reaction and criticism" to the positioning of the unit.

He said: "I apologise that it was positioned as an exclusive arrangement when it is actually the launch of the pilot period."

"The CII developed and accredited the unit on vulnerable clients, which is based on material supported by SJP. This unit can count towards achieving the CII’s level six qualification and Chartered status."

The unit is assessment-based, worth 30 Advanced Diploma credits and, at the time of its original launch, was the second to be launched in partnership by the CII and SJP. 

Mr Richards said it was standard educational practice for professional bodies to develop new material with specific organisations which have the "necessary resource and appetite".