The Financial Conduct Authority has worked with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) to create a re-assessment test of the level 4 Diploma in Financial Planning.
The CII will make the ‘Regulated Retail Investment Adviser Re-Evaluation’ tool available from 1 October 2018 and the assessment aims to raise the standards and competence of Financial Advisers across the UK.
It is essential that financial advisers having a good level of knowledge and is the foundation to giving sound financial advice. This is particularly the case with the more technical aspects of financial advice.
The level 4 Diploma became the minimum standard for financial advisers when the Retail Distribution Review came into force at the start of 2013 (level 4 Diploma is equivalent to passing 1st year Bachelor's Degree). For the record, advisers at Roberts Clark are all 'level 6 - Chartered' which is the professions equivalent honours degree when compared to non-financial services related education programmes such a BA (Hons) or BSc (Hons). Much in the same way as LLB is for solicitors etc.
Advisers must complete a minimum of 35 hours continuous professional development each year with the aim of maintaining their knowledge. At Roberts Clark we currently complete an average of around 150 structured CPD hours and 300+ unstructured CPD hours per year.
Not all firms test their advisers’ knowledge yearly as part of their Statement of Professional Standing, with many advisers never retesting so the objective of the re-evaluation is to identify areas of strength and weakness in technical knowledge and its application that underpins suitable financial advice. Both the FCA and CII will encourage IFAs to use it with the FCA suggesting that they may also use it as a supervisory tool if they think it is appropriate to ask firms to re-test specific advisers.
This retesting option will wean out those advisers that do not have suitable knowledge or are too lazy to keep up to date and should reduce incidents of poor advice outcomes due to lack of adviser knowledge.