Chartered Insurance Institute  

CII to scrap 'gap-filling' on SPS applications

CII to scrap 'gap-filling' on SPS applications

The Chartered Insurance Institute is to scrap "gap-filling" for advisers applying for a Statement of Professional Standing next year. 

The professional body said the gap-filling option was now outdated given how much time had elapsed since the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review at the end of 2012.

The move means financial advisers applying for a Statement of Professional Standing from the end of August 2021 will not be able to use CPD (Continuing Professional Development) to fill in any gaps in their qualifications. 

Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said: "The gap-filling option effectively managed risks to consumer harm, while enabling a fair transition to Retail Distribution Review qualification requirements for advisers who have, for example, been continuously absent from work.

"However, given the length of time that has elapsed since the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review it is now appropriate to end this transitional approach and apply appropriate standards of recognition of prior learning to professionals who have qualifications that do not fully meet the FCA’s criteria for advising on retail investment products."

The CII said the decision would no affect advisers who obtained a Statement of Professional Standing before August next year, or advisers who had already achieved it via the gap-filling route. 

The professional body said it was in the "interests of consumers" to end the option. 

Under the Financial Conduct Authority's rules, practising retail investment advisers must have a Statement of Professional Standing issued by a body accredited by the regulator.

A Statement of Professional Standing confirms the adviser has the minimum Level 4 qualifications needed for competence under the RDR rules.

When the RDR requirements were introduced the FCA allowed advisers to use existing Level 4 qualifications and for any gaps in the content between existing and new exams to be filled with CPD.

Until now the CII has awarded a Statement of Professional Standing to individuals who had a qualification close to the FCA’s requirement for investment advisers, provided they went through the gap-fill CPD process established during the RDR.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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