FSSC to review standards for providing advice

Consisting of ten units, the existing NOS for Providing Financial Advice detail the competences required for activities including reviewing and analysing customers' financial arrangements, and requirements and advising on investment solutions.

These NOS were approved in 2006, which means that much of the research underpinning them took place during 2005. Being more than three years old, they now become eligible for incremental review to ensure that their content remains topical and relevant. This incremental review will undertake a gap analysis of the NOS against current industry needs, to ensure that the Standards continue to reflect good industry practice.

Whilst new NOS units will also be developed for financial planning activities, the focus of the review will be on encompassing all the competences required for activities in giving financial advice and preparing a financial plan for a client. FSSC director of education, Sam Rees-Adams, said, "Much time has been spent over the years trying to establish definitions for financial advice and financial planning and we do not intend to resurrect that debate here. The important thing is to ascertain what knowledge and skills are required for the different elements of client interaction.

"With the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) focusing on the need to raise standards of investment advice and provide a better experience for consumers, this is an ideal opportunity to define the competences needed to do this. We would urge you to get involved in whatever way you can."

Industry practitioners are invited to get involved in this important work, either by becoming a member of the project working group or by reviewing the emerging project output ‘remotely'. A series of UK-wide roadshow events will also be run to gather feedback for the project later in the year.

The FSSC has also recently expanded its online information service for careers in financial services and accountancy to include retail banking, financial advice, and credit leasing and finance.