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Better CPD flexibility 'important'

Moves to allow more flexibility in continuing professional development requirements for authorised financial advisers are positive step, The Skills Organisation says.

Friday, September 6th 2013, 5:35AM

by Susan Edmunds

The organisation is the national standards-setting body for the financial services industry and develops competency standards and manages training arrangements.

Changes are being proposed to the Code of Professional Conduct for Financial Advisers, which would require AFAs to complete 30 structured CPD hours over two years, rather than the current requirement for 10 structured and 10 unstructured credits each year.

Skills Organisation spokesman Colin James said it would allow more flexibility.

“It’s a move in the right direction, the previous structure did cause quite some confusion.”

His organisation last year called a meeting to address some of the issues. “People were trying to get a better handle on the principles-based approach. Questions were being asked about what constitutes structured CPD.”

Others were concerned about what counted as "unstructured" CPD.

He said his organisation also welcomed the move to encourage advisers to benchmark themselves against the entry level requirements of new authorised financial advisers at any particular time. They would be encouraged to address any shortfall through CPD.

“That seems appropriate although it’s only included as a reference point and doesn’t create any compulsion… if you’ve got a reference in the code saying however you go here, you need to be up to the same standards as those coming in now, CPD is a good place to address that.”

He said steady numbers of advisers had been sitting the level 5 qualification over the past year. There had been no noticeable increase, despite anecdotal reports that more registered financial advisers were moving towards AFA status. “It’s been the same kind of figures from one month to the next.”

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