Norwich Union backs financial services qualification and pledges help

The Skills Council for Financial Services launched its national qualifications and standards framework this week.

The long-term goal is to incorporate into the framework training currently carried out by the CII .

Around £650,000 of National Learning and Skills Council (NLSC) funding will be channelled into developing level 3 qualifications (A-level equivalent) in financial services.

Extra funding will be provided to develop level 2 (GCSE equivalent) qualifications.

The exam framework has received the backing of leading insurers, including Norwich Union (NU).

NU head of regulated training and competence John Williams said: "Norwich Union supports the continued development of meaningful and credible qualifications in financial services which will benefit consumers and practitioners.

"We are pleased to work with the Skills Council and share our experience and practice to ensure this is achieved in a practical and cost efficient way."

Skills Council for Financial Services chief executive David Jackman said: "We would like people working in financial services to be recognised in the same light as accountants and lawyers."

The exam framework, which consists of a range of modules relating to investment advice, is based on the syllabus that was set out in CP157.

"We want employers to select the modules which relate to the job the employee is doing."

The Skills Council is also currently developing a new advice skills qualification which will "help to ensure the competence" of financial advisers, including insurers and brokers.

Jackman said the Skills Council would produce the "overarching framework" into which CII training will be incorporated.

"The FSA says people working in general insurance should be competent and it will be left to the general insurance industry to determine what competence is," Jackman said.

"Eventually we want to fit what the CII is doing into the national framework."

Last week, it was revealed that Biba's face-to-face training for its members could in future be carried out by the CII.

Talks have begun between the two associations about CII delivering the training, but remaining under the Biba brand.