No learning infrastructure to support new exams regime

From Rod Williams

I read with great interest the letter submitted by Michael Lawrence (Mortgage Strategy January 6).

I am almost 59 years old and, like Mr Lawrence, an IFA with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. During this time, I think I have provided good reliable advice to my clients on a whole range of products, including mortgages.

Unlike Mr Lawrence, however, I was fortunate enough to pass the Mortgage Advice Qualification on my first attempt in July last year. However I realise that &#39there, but for the grace of God, go I&#39.

I am totally in support of his comments. The means by which the regulators are trying to clean up our industry are too fast and too draconian.

Deadlines, however far away, create pressure. Pressure in turn can lead to illness, particularly in the older age groups in our industry. And we have enough problems right now without adding any more.

Far more thought and recognition needs to be given to individual experience and consideration for the older people who lack examination technique and find it much harder to retain information.

I would go as far as to say that the system as it is now could be accused of discrimination against older advisers.

The rules as they exist can prevent someone from earning a living now the deadline has passed and I wonder how a court would view such a restriction. There seems to be far too much emphasis on qualifications in our industry at the moment. It appears that the regulators want to create an industry of highly-qualified professionals.

However, the public will never treat us with the respect accorded solicitors or accountants simply because we do not take a three or four-year degree course prior to joining the industry. In fact I do not know of a local college in my area that offers any financial services courses.

The Mortgage Code Compliance Board has introduced the need for qualifications but has not offered a learning infrastructure to support it. Instead it has relied upon the IFS and the CII to provide the syllabus and examination. An easy option for the regulator I would have thought.

Both these organisations would of course jump at the opportunity to provide this. Just think of how much the CII made of the Financial Planning Certificate examinations and is continuing to make. I rest my case.

Rod Williams FPC

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