This year, professionals will have to show and prove competence, says

Few things in our market are certain but I can guarantee that this year, you will increasingly see the phrase "fit for purpose" and questions arising from this apparently simple concept. Regulation will make the competence of individuals key to the central aim of protecting the customer and improving trust and confidence in our marketplace.

There is, therefore, a call to action for all of us, from seasoned practitioners to greenhorns. We will need to work out how we are going to achieve, maintain - and demonstrate - the competence we need to do our jobs. In addition to this individual responsibility, managers will be obliged to monitor the compliance of their staff in relation to an ever developing regulatory environment. Regulation is not static; it is as dynamic as is our market.

To be competent is to do your job satisfactorily. A pre-requisite is that you keep up to date, understand the issues and show evidence that you are "fit for purpose". Today's business environment is about life-long learning and professional development. Things move too quickly not to take this seriously and whether it's reading the insurance press or studying a CII course you have to continue to work at professional development if you are to remain and be seen as "fit for purpose".

Many of the articles you read over the coming months will encourage you to be aware of the competence issue, and they will exhort you to take the appropriate steps. All well and good - we need this kind of coverage, and plenty of it, if we are going to develop the right attitude for best practice, consumer interest and a regulatory light touch.

Getting fit in a physical sense requires investment and energy. Getting "fit" for business is no different. You have to continue to work at it. Start your fitness regime now before it's too late.

Andy Homer is CII president