The introduction of the level 1 regulatory examinations in November 2010 shifted the focus from product training to RE preparation.
Up to the end of 2009, when FSPs and reps needed a minimum of 30 or 60 credits to stay in business, there was indeed a lot of activity on the training front. Not all of it was kosher, though, and some students found themselves with worthless credits due to duplication or because the training was not officially approved.
When the regulatory exams were first announced, there was a specific sequence which would be followed. One had to complete the level 1 REs, followed by level 2 REs, and after successful completion, become involved in continuous professional development (CPD).
The original deadline for level 1 REs, for candidates appointed before January 2010, was 31 December 2011. This was extended, and the majority of candidates have now written the level 1 REs, while those who failed have a further three months to the end of September.
To date, we have not seen any official announcement regarding the commencement of the level 2 REs. What we do know is that most candidates will have to write an exam for every category they are licensed for. This could add up to a tidy sum, not to mention the cost of lost production time.
Where to now regarding training and preparing for the next level of REs?
Step one should entail a training audit within your business, both in terms of what you currently have in the form of qualifications, and what is demanded, based on your licence categories.
If you only have credits, in other words, not an approved qualification, you will not be able to apply for exemption from any of the level 2 REs. You may want to investigate whether you will be able to add the missing credits in order to obtain a full qualification, or what the most suitable qualification is in terms of the products you advise on.
The FSB published Board Notice 64 in 2009. This document contains a list of recognised qualifications which will exempt candidates from certain of the level 2 REs – or not. You need to determine whether a qualification is listed as S (specific) or G (generic). Only a Specific rating will qualify you for an exemption from certain level 2 REs.
My colleague, Albert Marais, points out that that the qualifications contained in B.N. 64 will only be applicable to those advisors who were appointed prior to 2010.
We quite often hear of people who think that, being a CFP, for instance, automatically exempts them from all the level 2 REs. Unfortunately, this is not so. You may have product categories on your licence which are not covered by the CFP qualification you did. The same applies to many other qualifications. I spoke to a caller one day who was a qualified medical doctor. He was horrified when I broke the news that being a medicine man does not qualify you as a competent financial advisor.
Please click on the link above if you want to verify a specific qualification, but bear in mind that this list was published in 2009. There are other approved qualifications which were added to the list, but these have not yet been published.
You may want to consider enrolling the services of people skilled in the art of “edutalk” to assist. At Moonstone, Albert Marais or Ronel Nell will gladly assist. Phone them on 021 883 8000, or click on the name to contact them via e-mail.
You can also visit our revamped Training website for more information.