The UK Financial Conduct Authority has formally approved a new qualification proposed by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, known as the Level 6 Certificate in Pension Transfers & Planning Advice.
The approval comes at a time when there has been considerable public debate and media attention focused on the UK’s pension transfer industry, which critics say has been too quick to allow people to access their pensions, with the result that many people have lost some or even all of their savings.
CISI announced its plans to offer a pension transfer qualification earlier this year, arguing that the need for expert pension advice is greater than ever.
The London-based organisation, which revealed the FCA’s approval of its new pension transfer qualification today, said it is now accepting candidates for the programme, with the workbook that contains the information necessary to pass the exam available for purchase now as well.
Candidates will be able to sit the exam “from December 2017 onwards”, CISI said in a statement on its website.
(The award for this qualification is achieved by successfully passing the three-hour exam.)
CISI global director of learning James Stockdale said the Level 6 Certificate in Pension Transfers & Planning Advice had been drawn up in response to the London-based organisation’s members.
“CISI members have noted requests for information on pension transfers from current and new clients have soared since pension freedoms were announced by the UK Government in 2015,” he explained.
“This demand is likely to increase further, as the new EU Directive on European Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision Directive (IORP II) states that a standardised pension benefit statement must be provided to all pension scheme members, providing clear information outlining their individual pension entitlements.
“The UK market is having to implement this directive by 13 January 2019.
“We owe it to the consumer to ensure that our members are sufficiently qualified to the highest standards to help them navigate these new pension freedoms and help consumers financially plan their future lives.”
According to CISI, recent research from Aegon, the insurance company, has shown that more than a quarter of advisers (28%) expect to add to their advisory teams over the next 12 months, with the demand for pension transfer advice being a key driver in the need for more advisers.
The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment was originally founded in 1992 as the Securities Institute by members of the London Stock Exchange. It changed its name to the Securities & Investment Institute in 2004, and became the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment when it was granted a Royal Charter in 2009.
Today it has representative offices in such financial centres as Dublin, Edinburgh, Spain, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Dubai, Mumbai and Colombo, and says that some 4,000 people sat its certification exams in 80 countries over the past 12 months.
To read more about the Level 6 Certificate in Pension Transfers & Planning Advice on the CISI website, click here.