The Skills Council for Financial Services received its contract from the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) this week.

It follows the announcement that the Skills Council has been granted a development licence by the SSDA.

The Skills Council will spend the next six to nine months formulating its business strategy and enrolling members.

If the scheme is a success, the council will be granted a full licence in April 2004.

Skills Council chief executive David Jackman said: "The Skills Council will be a focus for lobbying as well as providing services to help with human resources problems.

"It will also co-ordinate standards."

The Skills Council will also be tasked with attracting high quality people to the industry and building Resourcenet, an online learning platform.