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Qualifications Clinic: I'm a generalist IFA, I don't know where to turn

by Michelle McGagh on Jun 20, 2011 at 10:07

Qualifications Clinic: I'm a generalist IFA, I don't know where to turn

Our exam doctors answer your questions as part of our Qualifications Clinic series. Adviser: anonymous

I am a generalist IFA and hope to continue working as a financial adviser post-2012.

My current qualifications are:
FPC 123

This is 100 points under the CII route

I am considering Calibrand as a suitable course however neither the FSA nor CII will confirm if the modules will count towards CII diploma as is the case with R0.

If I do R01 and R02 this will give me 40 points - enough to get diploma, pressure is off and I can at least gap fill until I pass the other R0 papers.

I would prefer to do Calibrand but no idea if two similar papers would give me the same credits, all Calibrand can offer is: “If you take the whole course this will get you to level four.”

Can you tell me if Calibrand will papers will carry equivalent CII credits?

Another option I was considering was the CIOBS exam. This was chosen by Barclays for their staff. Similar study books but one three hour exam! A colleague of mine (who was working at Barclays) just passed it with very little study.

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8 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Greg Thompson

Jun 20, 2011 at 12:02

You may find it better to do the RO papers and get the pressure off. I understand Callibrand is excellent but doing RO must be easier for you wiht 100 points in the bank. Try the study material from Catriona Brand. As a generalist IFA you probably have the knowledge anyway to almost get RO1 and R02 now so do the test papers and study only what you get wrong. I don't think I would want to rely on what Barclays are doing.

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Julian Sunley

Jun 20, 2011 at 12:51

I'm not familiar with Calibrand but would echo Greg's comment - with 100 points already sorted I would go the R0 route and then gap fill.

I did the JO papers and am currently filling in my gaps and have found the CII Gap Fill tool very easy to use. I have also been attending the gap-fill sessions at the PFS regional meetings (not just my region but those adjoining) and virtually all have been quite interesting.

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Phil Castle

Jun 20, 2011 at 14:45

I agree with Greg and Julian. R02 is a good measure of your knowledge, RO1 is boring BUT if does a serious bit of Gap Fill.

I've got R01 booked for 12th July and having done the revisionmate questions I feel fairly confident I'll pass first time despite only reading the manual once so far (famous last words).

As both are mutliple choice, you'll know the moment you leave the exam centre if you've passed or not so provide you have you can then get back to focusing on what the job is supposed to be about, i.e. advising your clients, not sitting exams.

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Karen Davies

Jun 20, 2011 at 15:15

As the exam doctor all rightly say, it's a personal choice.

You may want to consider Experience Count, our work based assessment route. Experienced advisers who have a number of different qualifications can have them all taken into consideration during the assessment so no prior learning or qualification is wasted. Happy tp provide more information or have a chat.

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Joe Wilson

Jun 21, 2011 at 12:13

The Caibrand Award ( to giive it the correct title Diploma in Professional Financial Advice) meets the full standard RDR is approved by FSA and Ofqual and by agreement has recognition by CII through accreditation of pror learning.


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Jun 22, 2011 at 11:20

from Denis Saunders, Managing Director, Calibrand Limited;

I am pleased to confirm on the 10th July 2011 we received a letter from CII Accreditation Services accepting the Calibrand /SQA Diploma in Professional Financial Advice as Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) for the CII's Diploma in Financial Planning.

I would like to thank the SQA and the CII for the work they have put in to achieving this.

Calibrand, as the SQA centre, accepts the CII's R0 and J0 and any relevant level 4 qualification (or equivalent) from any recognised Awarding Body as valid RPL towards our Diploma.

If the anonymous adviser would like to email us on rdr@calibrand.com we will now be able to update the advice we gave to him or her previously.

If the best option is to pursue a different route to ours we will have no hesitation in saying so. Our objective remains to assist as many advisers as possible to reach the standard required by RDR and qualify to continue working.

Many thanks.

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Simon Mansell

Jun 24, 2011 at 14:19

What about the third option?

The FSA have confirmed they will not be applying the RDR rules to firm’s exercising Article 31 rights in their draft notification to the EC (ref CP09/18 Ann B pars 26 and 51).

Join an existing EEA investment advisers firm who will be able to provide investment advice to UK customers under the more relaxed MiFID regime and in turn employ UK agents, rather like a Network!

I know this will upset all those making a fortune out of exam fees and training but for the many IFAs unable to continue to pursue their profession because they lack level 4 (which is also contravening EU rights for citizens), it will be the only way forward. In fact even if you are level 4 it may be the only way forward.

Who knows there might be other small advantages i.e. No FSA, no FOS, no FSCS, regaining your rights under law etc rights to a longstop that many IFAs no longer expect under the FSA Stockholm Syndrome that stops us thinking and expecting human rights.

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Darren Lambert

Jun 28, 2011 at 18:22

I have spoken with the CII today to try and clarify if they will accept Calibrand/SQA exams as credits towards their diploma. I have recently passed Module 1 via Calibrand (FS Regulation & Ethics) and jneed to know if this will be accepted by CII and importantly what credits I will be given ie 20 diploma points?......CII very vague as usual..does anyone know the answer?

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