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Continuous Professional Development – More than a three letter acronym

Section 14(1) of the FAIS Act makes it compulsory to debar a person if he or she fails to comply with the requirements of Board Notice 194 of 2017 which became effective on 1 April 2018. In terms of these Fit & Proper requirements, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for regulatory (FSCA) purposes was officially implemented as such a requirement. This means advisors are obliged to perform CPD activities towards regulatory (FSCA) CPD requirements during a CPD cycle, which is a period of 12 months commencing on 1 June of every year and ending 31 May of the following year.

Compliance to this requirement was once again emphasised at the recent Regulatory Workshops presented by Moonstone Compliance. “CPD forms the cornerstone of the competency test as it ensures that intermediaries keep up to date with all of the new information in the financial services industry”, Billy Seyffert, Chief Operating Officer of Moonstone, stressed to delegates attending the workshops.

Seyffert further advised that CPD activities should be relevant, contribute to your skills and knowledge, address any identified gaps, as well as take into consideration changes to product or services. CPD is therefore not a tick box exercise; it should be planned, maintained and monitored.

Jean Archary, Head of Business Management Solutions at Old Mutual Wealth, agrees. In a recent media release she mentioned that financial advisers should embrace the CPD process as an opportunity to fill the gaps in their professional practice holistically. “Advisers must consider what areas of professional experience they want to grow in and where the gaps in their professional practice are. If they are advising on a specific class of business, they also need to make sure that their CPD is relevant to that class of business to deliver the best possible value and client experience. Keeping up to date with legislative changes falls into this ambit, and not doing this, could have disastrous consequences for both you and your client”, she stated.

Board Notice 194 of 2017 specifies that regulatory (FSCA) CPD activities should be relevant to the functions and roles you perform, and should:

  • contribute to your skill, knowledge, expertise and professional and ethical standards required;
  •  address any identified needs or gaps in your technical, generic and legal knowledge and;
  • adequately take into account changing conditions relevant to the financial products for which you are authorized.

Seyffert stressed that relevance of the activity is key. “Don’t spend hours on activities that are not aligned to your role and function”, he advised. “By ensuring that whatever CPD activity you are doing is aligned to the skills and value you are offering to your client, you will be adding to your value proposition”, Archary concurs. She further states that this will reassure clients that financial advisers are regulated by a professional body to ensure they are equipped to provide the highest level of service and knowledge.

Unfortunately, many advisers, grudgingly, leaves it until the last minute. Research across professional industries has found that many individuals working in a regulated environment complete at least half of their CPD in the 30 days before the deadline. With many it is a last-minute consideration, and not implemented as part of an annual plan. Imagine the Springboks leaving preparation for the Rugby World Cup till the last week before departing for Japan.

Financial Advisors also need to always perform at the top of their game: Refresh, Re-energise and spark!

Tool to assist with compliance

Moonstone offers a Software Solution, the “Fit & Proper Manager”, that will inform you of how many CPD hours are required for each respective advisor, whether his or her CPD hours can be reduced, and most importantly whether or not your advisors comply with all relevant Fit & Proper requirements.

Want to know more? Click here to schedule a demo of the “Fit & Proper Manager” software solution.

Moonstone’s CPD offerings

Moonstone also offers various events and activities that are CPD accredited. Visit the Moonstone Events page for more information or click here to access a detailed FAQ document which contains details of how you can, for instance, register to obtain CPD hours by reading the two Moonstone newsletters, as well as other CPD accredited activities

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