Is profit part of CPD?
Advisers have mixed views on whether courses focused on increasing profitability should be counted as continued professional development (CPD).
Friday, January 25th 2013, 8:00AM 6 Comments
by Niko Kloeten
The cancellation of a course promising to help advisers improve the profitability of their businesses by 20% has prompted some in the industry to question whether such courses meet the criteria for professional development.
Private Asset Management adviser Brent Sheather said the goal of CPD should be to benefit clients and teaching advisers how to make more money out of them did not pass that test.
“I would have thought that CPD was designed to make advisers better at doing their job. CPD should be looking to remedy any deficiencies in an adviser’s advice.I reckon you could teach an adviser to be a good adviser in a day of CPD. That’s all it would take as long as they remembered.”
Sheather also said the drive to maximise profit could be argued to be “consistent with bad advice” because advisers would be incentivised to place clients in riskier products with high fees.
Institute of Financial Advisers president Nigel Tate said courses focused on improving advisers’ businesses were a legitimate form of CPD, depending to some extent on the content provided.
“I’ve always been of the view that you can have all the ethics, quality standards and everything but if you go out of business your clients don’t benefit from your knowledge, care and skill,” he said.
“One of the issues that has been around in the past is that people see a different person each time and get confused. By having practitioners that are financially viable consumers can benefit from consistency in advice, provided of course that it is good quality advice.”
Norman Stacey of Diversified said there was nothing wrong with business development as CPD but suggested putting some sort of maximum quota on how much could be counted towards advisers’ obligations.
The bigger issue, he said, is the variable quality of courses which devalues the “currency” of CPD credits.
“It’s a bit like carbon credits: some organisations are throwing them out very cheaply which deprecates their value.”
The FMA said that while AFAs might attend training for “a wide variety of purposes, including business development skills”, they must ensure their CPD is relevant to the financial services they provide.
“AFAs are in the best position to judge their learning and development needs and therefore the degree of relevance of the courses they elect to attend.
“Their record of CPD activity must demonstrate clear links between their own financial adviser services and practice, their individual development needs and the CPD activity undertaken by them.”
Niko Kloeten can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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