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CII ends ‘gap-filling’ for advisers

Publication date:

10 November 2020

Last updated:

18 December 2023

Author(s):

Chartered Insurance Institute

The Chartered Insurance Institute will end ‘gap-filling’ as an option for financial advisers applying for a Statement of Professional Standing from the end of August 2021 onwards.

It is important to stress that the end of this option does not affect advisers who obtain an SPS via the gap filling route before the end of August 2021, including advisers who have already attained an SPS via this route.

Under Financial Conduct Authority rules, in order to practise as a retail investment adviser, an individual must have a Statement of Professional Standing issued by a body that has been accredited by the regulator.

A Statement of Professional Standing confirms the adviser has the minimum Level 4 qualifications needed to achieve competence under the FCA’s Retail Distribution Review rules that were introduced at the start of 2013.

When the Retail Distribution Review requirements were introduced, the FCA allowed advisers to use existing Level 4 qualifications and for any gaps in the content between existing and new exams to be filled with Continuing Professional Development.

Up until now the CII has awarded a Statement of Professional Standing to individuals who had a qualification close to the FCA’s requirement for investment advisers provided they went through the gap-fill CPD process established during the RDR.

A CII review found the qualifications allowed under gap-fill are beginning to be outdated so the professional body has decided it is now in the interests of consumers to end this option.

Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said: “The gap-filling option effectively managed risks to consumer harm, while enabling a fair transition to Retail Distribution Review qualification requirements for advisers who have, for example, been continuously absent from work.

“However, given the length of time that has elapsed since the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review it is now appropriate to end this transitional approach and apply appropriate standards of recognition of prior learning to professionals who have qualifications that do not fully meet the FCA’s criteria for advising on retail investment products.

“As a result, we will be ending the ‘gap-filling’ CPD process as a route for advisers to attain a Statement of Professional Standing from the end of August 2021.”

This document is believed to be accurate but is not intended as a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Neither the author (personal or corporate), the CII group, local institute or Society, or any of the officers or employees of those organisations accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the data or opinions included in this material. Opinions expressed are those of the author or authors and not necessarily those of the CII group, local institutes, or Societies.