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NZCFS study upswing as deadline loomed

Training providers have had a busy six months as financial advisers rushed to meet this week's deadline for being up to date with qualifications required under the new licensing regime.

Friday, March 17th 2023, 6:24AM

by Andrea Malcolm

Financial advisers are now required to demonstrate competence standards equivalent to New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services (Level 5) version two - NZCFS5(v2).

Strategi Institute offers individual courses and a range of bundles priced according to specialist strands and delivery method; self-paced online, online but facilitated, in-class and facilitated. The fee for the individual online core strand is $1050 plus $750 for each additional specialist strand. Online facilitated, distance learning (which includes printed materials) and classroom options have higher fees.

Strategi suggests a completion period of six months for a strand or eight to nine months for the entire qualification for part-time study. Some people who went full time completed in a month, says Strategi managing director David Greenslade.

Last August Strategi rolled out fast-track workshops to support advisers who had still not started the level 5 qualification. At the time Greenslade says many people who delayed starting the qualification were struggling to make an income in the tough financial market.

Greenslade says in the past two years 6000 have now completed the programme with a definite uptick in the last six months. Residential property lending (for mortgage advisers) and life disability and health (for personal insurance advisers) have been the most popular strands. Strategi also offers equivalence pathways with around 9000 corporates taking that route. Outside of the corporates, the number is minimal, Greenslade puts it at around three people.

At the start of the year Strategi began offering government funding from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) for those registering to complete the certificate. The funding which offers discounts of $300 to $700 have been taken up by less than 200 people so far.

Open Polytechnic

Open Polytechnic has been offering the New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services (Level 5) (Version 2) since mid-2019. Costs vary depending on how many specialist strands are completed.  One strand, which consists of the two general core courses and the specialist strand, costs $1,904 with a fee of $794 for each additional specialist strand.

More than 6,300 people have graduated from the Open Polytechnic programme with  5,200 of those completing in the last two years with all specialist strands well subscribed.

Completions ramped up over the 2021-2022 period with almost 2000 people gaining certificates in 2021 and 2300 the following year.

This year there has been a significant decline in enrollments into the first core courses of the programme (FSC521 and FSC522). There are currently 1,600 enrolled in the NZCFS and to date this year another 435 have graduated.

Alan Cadwallader, executive director Open Polytechnic says the overall response from those taking the course was that they appreciated the flexibility of being able to enrol on a monthly basis, study at a time and place that suits them, and being able to fit their studies around the other commitments.

The Open Polytechnic does not offer equivalence pathways.  Cadwallader says the focus has been to deliver the NZCFSL5 V2  and the programme was designed to meet the specific competency, knowledge, and skill requirements outlined in the Code of

Professional Conduct for Financial Services. “We understand that some individuals may be interested in alternative pathways to demonstrate their capabilities, and we encourage them to explore the available options.”

Professional IQ, which charges $1795 for self-directed learning with options for additional support, was unable to provide data due to staff being extremely busy “getting people through.”

Tags: NZCFS

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