In the early days of this CPD Page we addressed the question of supervision. Since then, with the advent of FSA regulation, this subject has taken on a new importance and perhaps urgency as it has become clear that supervision and monitoring is a mainstay of FSA standards.Consider once again the high level statutory objectives of the FSA:- Consumer protection- Consumer confidence in the market- Consumer education- Prevention of financial crime.Through the supervision and monitoring of staff and systems, it is the supervisor's job to:- Maintain compliance- Identify non-compliance- Identify a risk that the high level objectives might not be met- Know how to respond when non-compliance or risk is identified.And in professional broking firms the supervisor must:- Correct non-compliance and address risk as agreed with the employing firm- Above that agreed level, refer the matter to another authority (normally within the firm but possibly to an external authority).An important decision for every firm is the span of control that a supervisor can competently handle on a day-to-day basis. This will vary. In a commercial provincial broker, it may be five account executives, yet in a call centre it may be 20 employees. In a two-director firm it may be one to one between the directors. You choose.The most important thing to remember is that once you have identified the supervisors in your firm, you will have to reasonably ensure that they are competent to do the job.So the November MOT is an assessment for supervisors (although anyone can take part).Give yourselves time and space to tackle this and if you want the exercise to have any value in CPD terms (or indeed maintenance of competence), give written answers as evidence which may be stored on your individual learning file. In most cases, you will be able to find the answers in back copies of the CPD page. To assist you, please free to email RWA if you get stuck (helpme@brokercompliance. but only one short question or point at a time (lengthy emails will be ignored) and the help-line will close on Tuesday evening 18 November. We will respond to as many inquiries as we can.Each question has a key learning point which we will highlight next week but as with any mature assessment, there will often be more than one answer. Try not to endlessly try to fathom things out. Be incisive in your response and if you are off the mark, well that is what learning is about. Remember that in real life, it is sometimes better to make incisive decisions that bring a problem to a head, than dither and court a disaster.Question 1In regulatory terms, what is the definition of a competence benchmark?Question 2What does the term 'direct supervision' mean?Question 3What does the term 'continuing supervision' mean?Question 4How does 'supervision' differ from 'monitoring?'Question 5A member of staff that you supervise undertakes a knowledge assessment which falls below the competence benchmark set by your firm. The individual was deemed competent prior to the assessment. Should the individual be allowed to continue working without direct supervision?Question 6What is the generally accepted definition of the term 'competence'?Question 7Does a supervisor need to be competent in all the job roles of those employees that s/he is supervising? (Justify your answer).Multiple choice questions(There may be more than one answer)Question 8Which of the following would be appropriate records to be kept that are essential for a robust T&C scheme? a. Development action planb. Individual training recordc. Observation recordd. Attendance record.Question 9Which of the following may be preferred learning styles that an individual has?a. Visualb. Academicc. One-to-one coachingd. Touch.Question 10Which of the following might be suitable methods of assessing competence?a. Verbal questioningb. Role playc. Live observationd. Formal examination.Question 11Which of the following is the fundamental 'building block' that must be in place before you can identify competence and adopt the appropriate methods of supervision for a group of employees?a. Suitable job contractsb. Individual training filesc. Job specificationsd. A procedures manual.Question 12aYou are accompanying an employee on a sales call to observe competence for a formal assessment. During the course of the call it becomes apparent to you that the employee is not giving competent advice. What should you do?a) End the meeting immediately if you are not competent to give advice in the area being discussedb) Take over the meeting if you are competent in the area being discussedc) Allow the individual to continue (to avoid embarrassment to the firm but carpet them later)d) Steer the meeting to a close, preferably without giving advice (unless you are competent to do so) and arrange a further meeting.Question 12bFollowing on from the previous question - when you return to the office you realise that the employee you accompanied has not demonstrated competence. In fact, although he was previously deemed competent, you have become aware that there are gaping holes in his knowledge, understanding and skills.What is the first thing that you should do?a) List down the steps that you should take as soon as possible after the meetingb) Prepare a development action plan for the employee, remembering to use SMART objectivesc) Immediately report the matter in writing to your superior.Question 13Alison is 27 years old and started work in your call centre as a temp some 12 months ago. The hours fit very well around her childcare needs. You have made her a permanent member of staff and her job is now to answer requests for household quotes on a freephone number that is provided for a retired persons association. She has a very friendly manner that customers like and is competent to read questions from the VDU screen and record answers before giving a quote.However, she is not always focused on her work and does not have the knowledge and understanding to answer questions that are not referred to on the screen. Recent mishaps have included:- On three occasions in one phone call, when asked a question she had to say: "I'll put you on hold while I go and check"- When the customer inquired about worldwide cover, she responded: "Cover always applies worldwide"- At the end of the call and after giving the quote, the customer asked about freezer contents cover. Alison said: "Oh, sorry, I forgot to ask if you wanted that" and subsequently the quote increased- She frequently 'corrects' customers although she is not always accurate.You have become aware of the issues because you have now had three customers ring back and ask to speak to a supervisor.What is the first thing that you should do?a) List down the steps that you should begin takingb) Prepare a development action plan for Alisonc) Stop her working at this job immediatelyQuestion 14You have supervisory responsibility for a 50-year-old commercial account executive who is highly paid and who has been in the insurance industry since leaving school.a) One of the firm's procedures is that he must return a diary sheet to you each Friday detailing his business activity and meetings for the week. What is the primary risk of not knowing the business activity of advisers you supervise?b) You ask the individual to make sure that he conforms with the laid down company procedure. He refuses. Where should you be able to find instruction on what action to take?c) You issue a formal written note to the individual who begrudgingly begins to submit the activity sheets each week. From this you are able to identify the clients he is visiting and undertake a file review. You are concerned that there appears to be no written record of what happened at any of the meetings the individual has diarised. What should be your first concern?d) Assuming that your first concern is unfounded, you inquire of the individual what occurred at these meetings and he is able to quote almost verbatim what happened and was said. What is your concern.Question 15The individual in question 14 continues to disregard the firm's procedures whenever possible and in your view, despite an obvious high standard of technical ability, is working in a non-compliant manner whenever left to his own devices. His response to everything seems to be: "I have acted in this manner for 30 years without complaint or allegation of negligence and that is all the FSA expects." But you rarely have a clue about what or how he is doing his job. In one line, how would you describe what the FSA expects in response to this argument?Question 16Your managing director tells you that the board has decided that to prove competence, all staff must pass a CII examination. What is your response to this decision in relation to the FSA requirement that an individual is competent to do his/her job?Question 17A young member of staff wishes to undertake relevant professional CII exams and asks whether your firm support the idea.In bullet point form, identify six advantages for encouraging the directors of your firm to support this request.Question 18It is a fact that the majority of brokers learn (and have learned) skills and knowledge of the job by on the job learning from more experienced mentors.In regulatory terms, what is the flaw in this process, a flaw which makes competent supervision almost impossible?Question 19You are a sole trader with a PA who is only competent to type letters, answer the phone (giving no advice) and carry out administration tasks. You are therefore the only supervisor in the firm. You wish to go on holiday for a week and break contact from the business for a week's rest. What is the best way to do this and remain compliant?Question 20What do the letters SYSC stand for?This page is edited by RW Associates, specialists in training, compliance and competence. Email:

Using this CPD pageFor the vast majority of practitioners and indeed support and supervisory staff in our industry, CPD is about regular learning and study that is planned, recorded, timed and evaluated. If you are a member of a professional body with a CPD requirement then there will be certain rules regarding the quality and nature of study material, and the way in which it is recorded.For staff of GISC members this means recording on your individual training file what the learning was, who provided it and when.It might be structured, such as a course, a learning programme or exam study. But it can be unstructured. This form of study encompasses reading the trade press, technical material or taking part in activities to support your professional body. Some CPD requirements are points related (a little antiquated) and others require a time value to be allocated. For example, it might take one hour to read Insurance Times each week. Most of that could be put as a time value but, in reality, perhaps only an half hour was devoted to learning something. The rule is to be honest with yourself and record the time that is relevant. Always take time to make a note of what you felt you gained from the activity. This is useful information for anyone else considering the same activity.In response to the popularity of our CPD programme each week's CPD page can now be downloaded from our website. We will be preparing a binder for you to keep these in alongside the results of the exercises.To download a PDF of this article as it appears in the magazine click below: page 26 page 27