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Financial Services: Qualification update

With the financial services job market still exceptionally competitive the attainment of advanced qualifications is becoming increasingly important, not least with the Retail Distribution Review in mind. With the ongoing development of courses to suit all types of student being made available through various exam bodies, it is key that those seeking IFA jobs, paraplanner jobs and even administrator jobs are fully aware of what our clients expect of them.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has long been the major provider of study material, offering various qualifications such as the Certificate in Financial Planning, the level 4 Diploma and the Advanced Diploma (leading to Chartered Status). Increasingly those scouring the job boards online for administrator jobs are seeing the requirement for full level 3 status, such as holding the old Financial Planning Certificate (FPC), the Certificate in Financial Advice (CeFA) and the newer Certificate in Financial Planning. Although there are obvious costs involved with finalising these exams, it is something that would add great value to any CV and therefore is very much in the interests of each individual to attain.

For those looking online at both paraplanner jobs and IFA jobs then increasingly level 4 designation is becoming a pre-requisite, especially for the top end roles. Quite simply firms feel it is too risky with RDR approaching to bring on board those individuals who are still some way away from attaining their Diploma, with most new IFA jobs in particular that are registered with us likely to contain the need for level 4. Whilst experience and success has previously been an even bigger draw for recruiting companies, qualification requirements are fast catching up.

Paraplanner jobs are also asking for the Diploma, especially with a number of firms beginning to authorise their paraplanners to make sure that no regulatory problems unfold. True, at the lower end of the market it is not a pre-requisite, but for any paraplanner seeking salaries in advance of 30,000 (35,000 in London) then the Diploma is very much a must-have.

Away from such vacancies there is a drive within the investment community for advisers and support staff to beef up on their qualifications. The Investment Management Certificate has become the general qualification required, especially for business development manager jobs and investment manager jobs. Beyond this level The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) Diploma is a common route for most asset management firms with the attainment of this taking each individual beyond the minimum level 4 requirement.

So what route to take?

In an effort to make qualifications more accessible the CII earlier in the year brought out their multiple choice papers, the ROs. Although each RO paper provides 37 credits as opposed to the JOs 40 (meaning more papers to take), the exam is not intended to be any easier and still requires a great deal of study according to the exam body. This is a similar approach to the IFS whose own Level 4 Diploma is again intended to be more accessible and suited to individuals seeking an alternative and potentially quicker way to achieve the Diploma designation.

Whatever the plan, the exams can now be argued to cater to all tastes and those seeking IFA jobs, paraplanner jobs and administrator jobs would be well served to consider attaining them as a matter of urgency.

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