Why CPD is here to stay

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Just occasionally it’s good to remind ourselves why something is important and CPD is one of those things which makes it easy to forget how important it is: why is CPD important?

Empowering your people through improved performance and competence;

Maintaining and enhancing the knowledge and skills of your people;

Providing a competitive edge for your business through your people;

Continuously evolving and making sure those qualifications do not become obsolete;

It empowers your people and sharpens the professional edge of your business.

You will be looking for integrated activities – online and F2F – with workshops, seminars, and e-learning courses. Post-COVID, you have reminded yourself how social learning is good learning and workshops are a key part of your mix.

This is not just compulsory; it is an essential part of keeping your business sharp and on the ball.

And, of course, career-oriented assessments and exams are still part of the mix as they always have been.

You will also include reflective self-directed CPD – reading relevant news articles, case studies, and industry updates, as well as listening to podcasts, peer-reviewed books and studies, industry journals, trade magazines, and industry-specific news feeds…. are all part of the spice of CPD.

Your CPD mix will boost the confidence and competence of your people.

It will provide a platform for positive disruption in your business: healthy learning culture = happier and more productive people.

This underpins all CPD activities across all professions – but, looking specifically at financial services and very particularly pension transfer specialists – what does this mean for them?

Since 2015, over 7 years ago, pensions and pension transfer work has undergone massive structural change and development.

Those structural changes and developments within the profession now have to be embedded as professional practice – business as normal within your business. They are a positive disruption to your business and your client outcomes. They are not exams: they are continuous development of skills, knowledge, and competence.

Those structural changes and developments within the profession now have to be embedded as professional practice – business as normal within your business – developing your financial planning competence, to ensure that you deliver financial planning advice which is in the client’s best interests.

It’s not something that happens at one event. Or one exam.

It is a continuous process. The full mix of CPD for your people has to be built into your business as part of your everyday and fully embraced as part of your culture.

That’s why the FCA made CPD a compulsory part of the pension transfer specialist (PTS) role.

That requires a big effort from individuals and from firms – you need the resources and expertise to deliver that CPD, to ensure your highest skilled pension transfer specialists (PTS’s) are getting the support they need from experts who understand them, every day – which is tailored for them.

This is not just compulsory; it is an essential part of keeping your business sharp and on the ball.

In the post-COVD era, you will be expanding out from using just online learning, from passive CPD to more interactive, face-to-face, social sharing and learning tutorial workshops to enable that professional shared learning to take place. That is part of the developing future – alongside the online reflective self-directed CPD we’ve been used to over the past 3 years.

That mix of CPD will be best delivered by trainers and practitioners who have experience of delivering advice and working with the FCA in such a specialist part of financial planning. The subject-matter has changed. The focus has changed. The expectations have changed and the world post-COVID is moving forward rapidly…

Here is a reminder of the CPD that a pension transfer specialist must undertake:

15 hours of specific PTS continuing CPD annually;

5 hours of the 15 hours each year must be provided by an external independent provider;

9 hours must be structured learning – with specific learning objectives and outcomes and can include various types of facilitated learning opportunities as we have discussed;

The PTS CPD is specific to the PTS role.

For example, a 3 hour group session (facilitated by an external expert practitioner) on using and assessing DBAAT outputs would cover a large chunk of your regulatory responsibilities, but also enhance the competence of your team.

Does your CPD for your pension transfer specialists include these subjects:

DBAAT training – what does a good DBAAT look like?

Real case studies – analysis of cases and assessment of how advice is delivered;

Tutorial discussion using case studies from the public FOS determinations library;

What does best interests look like in a pension transfer case -what do you and your fellow professionals think it looks like?

The latest consultations from the FCA – how will it impact my business now or in future?

Are you covering these subjects both interactively in tutorial sessions and enabling passive development of competence? Are you taking advantage of the skills and knowledge you already have in the team and encouraging the sharing of internal knowledge and expertise?

In short, good CPD for PTS is real-life, it adds value, it’s useful, it is based on real cases, it is structured, and it delivers value for your people and your business.

It is specific and directed at your PTS. It is delivered online and face-2-face. It’s social and it encourages shared learning experiences from within your team on a regular basis.

It develops and empowers your people. It supports your professional business practice. It makes your business more secure, more competent and more compliant.

It’s based on a learning and development philosophy. It works alongside your overarching business principles.

It is part of your future.

 

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About Author

Dubbed by friends and colleagues “The Pensions Professor”, John Reynolds is widely acknowledged as one of the country’s leading experts in the financial services education sector. He has spent 20 years teaching, consulting, mentoring and writing on the subjects of pensions and investments. John’s unique ability to take his years of experience and technical knowledge and present it in an easy to understand format, has resulted in his talents being very much in demand. His portfolio of corporate clients include CII, Lloyds, Scottish Widows, Santander and Wesleyan; as well as numerous IFA clients whom he provides technical consultancy, mentoring and training on client case studies and staff training.. He has put his extensive expertise (and heart and soul!) into developing the expertpensions (EPL) proposition. EPL is a structured and interactive technical exam training programme for IFAs. It's designed to give financial advisors the required technical knowledge, study strategy and exam technique to confidently sit and pass the AF1, AF3, AF4 and AF5 exams. Its online, it's fully supported, structured and designed to help advisers reach Chartered Financial Planner status quicker. It's ready to help your advisers reach chartered status

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