Significant changes have recently been made within the financial services industry, spearheaded by the Financial Conduct Authority mandated ‘Retail Distribution Review’ (RDR). The aim of the RDR is to raise the benchmark with regards to the quality and consistency of financial planning, and is an initiative we whole-heartedly support.

Establishing a resilient, effective and attractive retail investment market that consumers can have confidence in and trust at a time when they need more help and advice than ever with regards to retirement and investment planning is critical. If you do not trust an industry, you will not deal with it.

One of the major changes to the industry that RDR will bring about is the qualifications needed by an adviser to advise and arrange upon financial products. We are all generally familiar with the level of education an undergraduate degree provides – this is generally equivalent to a “level 6” qualification within the Qualifications and Certificate Framework (QCF).

Currently, to advise on investment products, a qualification roughly the equivalent of an A-Level or Diploma is required (Level 3 qualification within the QCF). Since  January 1st 2013, advisers who wish to continue advising and arranging on investment and retirement options to clients now need to have gained a minimum qualification which is the equivalent of foundation degree or Higher National Certificate (Level 4 qualification within QCF), and also hold a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) from an accredited body.

Two of our advisers already hold degree level qualifications and were “RDR” ready more than a year before this legislation came into place. Our other adviser was also ‘RDR ready’ with both examinations and SPS obtained, and is rapidly closing in on Chartered Financial Planner status. This is the most widely accepted gold standard qualification available for professionals in the Financial Planning field.

For further information from the Financial Conduct Authority with regards to RDR, please click below:


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