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IFA on definition of structured training

Press Release – Institute of Financial Advisers

The Institute of Financial Advisers (IFA) has taken a leadership position on the definition of structured training, developing new guidelines for advisers and education providers to an internationally recognised standard.
25 November 2011
IFA takes leadership position on definition of structured training

The Institute of Financial Advisers (IFA) has taken a leadership position on the definition of structured training, developing new guidelines for advisers and education providers to an internationally recognised standard.

The new and improved guidelines are in response to the requirements under the Code of Professional Conduct which requires all AFAs to compete a minimum of 20 hours of professional development, including at least 10 hours of structured training.

IFA chief executive Peter Lee says that, while the Code has a definition for structured training referring to a “structured continuing professional development programme managed by a DAO, QFE, or professional body”, the IFA believes this is too lax and creates uncertainty for advisers and training providers.

“We believe that to be deemed structured, training must meet certain internationally accepted minimum standards. In the Code definition there is also no requirement or definition as to how the material should be delivered, or how its effectiveness should be measured,” Lee says.

The Institute has long held its own minimum standards for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) but the decision to issue new guidelines was in response to advisers seeking greater clarification for the definition following the introduction of new regulation.

“We have listened to those concerns and in response have developed guidelines which are of a robust and internationally recognised standard for the wider financial industry,” Lee says.

Based on international best practice, the IFA has developed six dimensions for the definition of structured training:

Time: A minimum of 60 minutes and in 30 minute allocations thereafter
Content: Be research-based learning, designed or appropriate for, financial advisory professionals
Professional Knowledge: Align to one competency area outlined in the Institute’s Self-Assessment Guide
Format: Have a clear instructional design based on best practice in adult learning
Measurement: To measure learning through a combination of immediate testing (eg a quiz or test) and longer term results that improve professional outcomes in behaviour, knowledge, practice, personal or organisational development
Integrity: Be presented by a reputable presenter/third party

The new guidelines will apply to IFA advisers and course providers seeking Institute approval from 1 January 2012.

Lee says the Institute wants to engage with the wider community about the standards, which he hopes will become generally adopted.

He says the Institute is also about to introduce a new streamlined approval process for providers, to help them meet the new criteria.

For further information please contact:
Peter Lee Mob: 0275 760 780
Chief Executive
Institute of Financial Advisers

IFA Vision
To be the trusted and vital professional body for financial advice in New Zealand.

IFA Mission
To help our members achieve their potential as professional financial advisers for the benefit of the New Zealand public.

IFA Background
The Institute of Financial Advisers is the professional body for some 1,100 members, representing financial advisers in New Zealand. All members are individual members, not corporate members. We estimate that our members provide advice to some 200,000 New Zealanders each year, many of whom would be couples rather than individuals, with an overall client base of around 600,000.
Our members provide advice to their clients in the areas of insurance, investments, financial planning, work-based savings and insurance, retirement planning, estate planning and financial services generally. Their professional practices reflect the broad spectrum of New Zealand businesses – they operate as local SME’s, are part of large regional or national dealer groups, are associated with strong financial organisations, services companies in banking, funds management, or insurance, work in employee benefits organisations, or sometimes practice as lawyers, accountants and other professional advisers.
The Institute reinforces compliance with a code of ethics and practice standards, runs a Professional Conduct Committee and Disciplinary Tribunal that are independently chaired, offers education pathways that can lead to professional designations and the attainment of internationally recognised adviser marks, maintains and ensures compliance with a continuing professional development programme, and provides networking, education, development, and business practice forums at a national and regional level for members

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