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Adviser Workshop: How and why to go beyond level four

Adviser Workshop: How and why to go beyond level four

Duncan Hannay Robertson (pictured), Matthew Walne and Rob Jackson talk about the challenge of working towards further qualifications and their motivations for doing it.

Duncan Hannay Robertson

Private client adviser, Hannay Robertson

I want to become a member of the Society of Later Life Advisers so I have signed up for the CF8 exam in long-term care insurance, which includes equity release.

With my business model, I have a small number of clients, so the work is easy to fit it in, but you do need the motivation to do the exam. It’s mainly done through distance learning and involves filling in online questionnaires.

New skills are necessary

It’s important to improve qualifications and learn new skills. I was chartered in 2005; nobody had to tell me to do the exams. I knew I had to do them.

Clients still buy the personality and the sales skills; unfortunately, they don’t buy the qualifications.

In time, the qualifications will make a difference. If you wanted a road designed, you wouldn’t go to a civil engineer, you’d go to a chartered engineer. It will take another decade for that to happen, but one day the public will only ask for advice from a chartered adviser.

Matthew Walne

Managing director, Santorini Financial Planning

This year will be very busy. I’ve taken on a lot by going for the certified financial planner examinations and my ISO 22222 financial planning certificate.

I’m also working towards my BS8577 financial planning certification, which will complement the other awards nicely. They all involve examinations and the latter has a paper on associated finance, pensions, investment, taxes and trusts.

Getting ahead of the crowd

I think it’s only a matter of time before these qualifications become mandatory, so I want to get ahead of the crowd and do them in my own time.

As for studying the material, I work best in short, sharp bursts, so I take past exam papers and work backwards through the course.

The workload is difficult to manage, especially when you have a young family. It is worthwhile developing good time management as a skill.

Rob Jackson

Adviser, Jones Sheridan

I have recently been awarded fellowship of the Personal Finance Society, which comes from having taken almost all the financial services exams. It has taken since 2005 to get here.

It has been a lot of work. I have an extremely lenient wife, who’s in financial services herself and understands the importance of qualifications. I used to revise at night. I would set a goal of which exam I was going to take three months beforehand and then work methodically through it with past papers.

Chartered is the new aim

Level four is a basic qualification. I think chartered status is what people are now aiming for. If you want to get into the industry, with good referrals from professional connections, chartered status will help tremendously.

Constant development is important. You wouldn’t go for brain surgery with someone who only had basic qualifications.

And better qualifications help with more complex cases. When you get referrals for inheritance tax, estate or succession planning, you need to speak to someone who knows what’s what. Hopefully, I’m now in that category.

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