Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is one of the key requirements of the Code of Conduct, and while there is no set minimum target when it comes to hours, experts say it is still important to approach CPD in the right way to satisfy the requirements of the new regime.
Commenting on the CPD requirements, Dentons Kensington Swan partner David Ireland noted that a lot of the training and professional development will be on the Financial Advice Provider (FAP), as that entity holds the legal responsibility to meet all of the requirements of the Code.
However, he said it is also an adviser’s responsibility to make sure they are drafting up a development plan every year, and attending training courses that meet their specific objectives.
“Bear in mind that if you are a FAP, your professional development plan needs to be individualised to each adviser,” Ireland said.
“I was working with a provider who was delivering lots and lots of training, and thought that surely that ticked the box on CPD. And while that was fantastic, each individual actually has to have their own personal plan around what they need to learn. As a provider, you’re just making sure that they have all of that training available to them.”
“As an adviser, you do your draft professional development plan at the same time each year,” he explained.
“You need to plan forward about what you need to learn about, and what you need from the provider. You should identify what needs to go into your plan, but then you have the FAP overlay - the FAP needs to make sure that the individual development plans make sense.
“At the end of the day it’s the FAP’s neck that’s on the line if the individuals don’t have the appropriate plans in place.”
Ireland noted that knowing the regulation is just as important as maintaining knowledge on your particular strand of financial advice, and so at least some CPD training should touch on what is required under the Code and the new regime.
He said advisers should also avoid training that doesn’t fit with their learning objectives, as they will get limited value out of it as far as fulfilling their requirements.
“Keeping up to date with regulations is also a specific requirement of the Code along with just your professional competency,” Ireland said. “Don’t lose sight of those components of your plan. Do your log, and make sure your CPD matches your learning needs.”
“Something people sometimes fail to grasp is that you could do almost daily training sessions, but if they don’t match what you need to learn, that’s almost been a waste of time,” he added.
“There are no set hours that you need to do, but you just need to make sure that you’re maintaining an appropriate level of competency within your space.”