Industry reacts to rising of adviser qualifications

Industry reacts to rising of adviser qualifications


Following the FSA’s Retail Distribution Review, a storm has been brewing in the financial services sector over the proposed changes that were described as “far-reaching and challenging”. 

One of the three main proposals laid out by the FSA was regarding the professional standards of investment advisers, and how they are to be increased. As of 2012, they must hold the benchmark qualification of at least QCA level fours – equivalent to the first year of a degree.


However, the FSA has stated the possibly higher levels could be required for “designated specialists”, whilst encouraging all individuals to “opt for higher levels to suit their specific needs.”


Certain industry figures have praised the proposal. Fay Goddard, the chief executive of the Personal Finance Society said: “It’s really positive that the FSA has moved to raise qualifications and that investment advice, in whatever guise it is given, will be looked at separately in terms of professional standards.”


Meanwhile, Skipton Financial Services managing director, Mark Fleet said he supported the announcement but added that “there are many advisers in the industry without the competence or appetite for further qualifications and many will no doubt consider an alternative career path with the news that they need to reach diploma level to continue to advise in the post-RDR world.”


Some within the financial sector have even called for the benchmark to be raised higher. The chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, Lord David Lipsey conceded that “this is an enormous step forward but my panel remains committed for more qualifications.”

The FSA has said that the proposed changes are crucial for building consumer confidence and improving financial services.


“Insufficient consumer trust and confidence in the products and services supplied by the market lie at the root of what we are seeking to address. The poor standards of practice that we continue to observe in our supervision of some firms serve only to exacerbate this issue.” The regulator said.

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