As the final date for completion of the regulatory exams draw near, we experience an increase in calls from candidates, anxious about what will happen if they do not make it.
Let me say, at the outset, that we do not have all the answers.
Many of these readers wrote more than once and failed – some as many as four times, a few even more. I have no doubt in my mind that most of these people, provided that they prepared thoroughly, have more than the required knowledge. They simply struggle to prove it under examination conditions.
Fear about the future certainly does not contribute to alleviate the stress brought on by examinations. In fact, quite the opposite applies.
It would be very wrong to use this forum to speculate on numbers of people who may exit the industry. Until the final results are available, not even the regulator can hazard a guess. Until such time as we do know, one should rather look at the bigger picture.
I recall reading somewhere that the average independent brokerage consists of four people. Given the current unemployment figures facing the country, government can ill afford losses in this sector which is possibly one of the few showing growth in employment numbers.
But it is not about the numbers only. One must not be so naïve as to forget that we work in an industry where high staff turnover is a given. Retention of appointees after three years is very low. What should concern the industry is the loss of expertise.
We are aware of many “intended” retirements brought forward as a result of the regulatory exams. It may not be ideal, but they have a way out. Whether their clients will be equally happy, is another question. The client/advisor relationship is built up over years, and provides the public with some assurance in a very uncertain technical and technological environment.
The real concern is for those who have built a business, yet are far from retirement age.
Of course it is not all doom and gloom. If you have not passed the regulatory exams by the end of September, it does not mean that you will banned from the industry forever.
Depending on the nature of your business, there may be certain options to buy you time to write and pass the exams. This could include appointing a qualified key individual in case you still need to pass the exam, or allowing representatives to study full time for the exams as they are no longer allowed to practice.
There may be a temporary loss of income, but it need not mean losing your job, or closing down your business.
To conclude: there is still enough time to write and pass the exams. It is very important to remember that it is not only knowledge that plays a part in your success. As the old saying goes: Your altitude is often determined as much by your attitude as it is by your aptitude.