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We do need more education, says FEIFA

The chairman of FEIFA explains the role his organisation is playing in improving member training

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July involved work in a number of areas but none arguably more important than our activities with regards to adviser training, compliance and professional standards.

Our members need to be kept regularly and speedily informed of, and often advised with regards to, proposed changes to regulations and compliance in various European countries and in the EU as a whole.

For instance, CPD requirements in Belgium are now being extended and only activities approved by the regulator can count towards this.

As approved training tends to always be in Flemish or French, this could represent a serious concern for expat-focused advisers who are often linguistically limited.
 
FEIFA is thus looking at ways that CPD can be provided in English whilst being acceptable to the regulator. This may involve utilising existing online learning facilities that the regulator can easily assess and approve.

We are examining such services to see if they can be used as they stand or easily adapted for this purpose.

In addition, we are liasing with major international life offices and investment houses to try and develop appropriate training programmes and activities.

This is an area where our Partnership Programme is so important – the close relationships that we are building and the regular contact that we have, in particular with international life companies, helps to foresee potential future issues and assists providers and advisers in planning for these.

In the middle of the month, a telephone meeting with Noel Maye at the Financial Planning Standards Board furthered our work and desires to be at the forefront of professional development activities, for the benefit of our members.

The FPSB is a non-profit association that manages, develops and operates certification and education programs for financial planning organisations with the aim of establishing, upholding and promoting worldwide professional standards in financial planning.

As this aim is also very much a FEIFA objective, it was important to open up dialogue and there is now a regular communication flow between our two entities.

Accreditation

We believe that, in time, we may be highly involved in the development of qualifications and training for advisers on the Continent and this was an important first step.

We have also been examining possible accreditation systems for similar reasons. We have already had meetings and discussions with the main company sanctioned to provide accreditations across many industries, to initiate our long term plan to assist them in developing a specific kitemark for European-based IFAs and we have thus commenced an assessment of how to structure this.

One way that we ensure that our members stay fully informed is via our information services, in particular our monthly members’ magazine. This provides details on technical, product and industry matters and is a very useful tool for ongoing development of advisers.

In addition, the International Adviser conference in late September is being run in conjunction with FEIFA and this will provide further information to keep our members fully up-to-date with developments.

This is the first of a number of events that we intend to host or support, and we also obtain access to external conferences for our members – or our committee members attend such events and then report the relevant details to our IFAs.
 

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