The implementation of the RDR was a watershed moment for the retail financial services industry. The move to mandate CPD for those working in retail financial advice highlighted the importance of maintaining competence.
However, the emphasis on continuing professional development goes beyond compliance. In the last membership survey of CISI members, more than 80% of respondents expressed the view that CPD should be mandated across the financial services sector. Of those with CPD schemes in their firms, more than 90% were in compulsory schemes and the CISI membership is drawn from non-regulated individual practitioners as well as those working within the enhanced requirements of the Retail Distribution Review.
The CISI has therefore taken steps to make it even more straightforward to measure, monitor and record relevant CPD irrespective of whether individuals are working within the RDR regime
The conclusion we have drawn is that across the industry, practitioners are undertaking CPD to ensure that they progress in their career and maintain their professionalism, for their clients, their firms and the industry as a whole.
The CISI has always recognised that competence is a feature of the regulatory environment but the RDR makes CPD content a regulated matter. The CISI has therefore taken steps to make it even more straightforward to measure, monitor and record relevant CPD irrespective of whether individuals are working within the RDR regime. The CISI’s current CPD scheme has been established for a number of years and has evolved to meet the industry’s changing needs. This will continue in 2014 as the CISI revises its current CISI CPD scheme to align it more closely with the requirements of the RDR, particularly giving maximum flexibility regarding the kind of learning undertaken, but expecting greater attention to what is actually being learned (the learning outcomes), using structured and unstructured learning . The changes, which include a transitional year, will be rolled out from January.
For members not affected by the RDR, the main change from the current CISI scheme is a move away from the categories of Active, Reflective and Self-Directed learning to Structured and Unstructured learning, the latter comprising up to 14 hours and with considerable elasticity to include ‘soft skills’ as well as technical updating but with a greater focus on learning objectives and outcomes. The CISI is retaining the Development of Others category as a requirement for Chartered Members. Professionalism is the effective combination of knowledge, skills and behaviour, and CPD activity can and should address all of these; where these three pillars of professionalism interact, effectively defines the competent professional practitioner.
Consequently one valid area of CPD is the development of soft skills and at the CISI’s recent conference for T and C professionals, this was emphasised by speakers including the regulator and is reflected not only in the way in which the CISI evaluates its members CPD but also in the range of CPD seminars and courses being offered. We anticipate this area will continue to evolve during 2014!