The response by the Chartered Insurance Institute to a technical glitch with its adviser exams yesterday has been branded an "absolute disgrace" as candidates face uncertainty over whether the test was actually submitted.
Advisers and trainees were left in the dark yesterday (July 6) when technical issues delayed the R06 financial planning exam due to begin at 09:30 in the morning.
The CII apologised for the glitch which it said had caused a 15-minute delay to the start time, but candidates have since told FTAdviser of hours of delays and technical glitches during the sitting.
In a statement yesterday the professional body advised any candidate who was unable to log-in to the exam as a result of the glitch would be allowed to rebook for a future date, but advisers and training providers have warned this is not enough to rectify the issue.
Luiza Todd, director at Bespoke Training Solutions, said she knew of students who were ejected from the exam up to three times and some after they had been working on the test for two hours.
Ms Todd said others received a pop-up box asking candidates if they would like to exit the exam, despite not having selected that option, and some students waited for 45 minutes to begin the exam unsure as to whether they would be able to sit it.
She added: "A free resit in October will not be enough.
"There are 100 hours study time recommended for the R06 exam, plus many candidates have either paid personally, or their companies have paid for providers such as BTS to provide remote exam workshops.
"Such individuals and companies should as a minimum get these costs reimbursed as well."
Several sources told FTAdviser candidates spent hours trying to contact the CII either via the online chat system or telephone, but to no avail.
One trainee adviser who continued to experience technical difficulties whilst sitting the exam said they unsuccessfully tried to contact the professional body, which they said wasted precious working time.
A candidate who was able to eventually sit the exam said they had not yet been contacted by the professional body with any information regarding the glitch or its impact on results.
Another student said the uncertainty surrounding the exam meant it could have a "huge effect on earning potential and career progression" as candidates wait to hear whether they passed despite the technical glitches or whether their test was submitted at all.
One candidate told FTAdviser: "The whole process has been an absolute disgrace from start to finish, and not one befitting a professional body and the institution which dictates the fortunes of so many careers including my own.
"I now don’t know if I should be gearing up to start my career as a financial adviser, or whether I should be planning to resit an exam through no fault of my own in three months’ time."