If you’re a financial adviser specialising in pension transfers, you’ll know that your continuing professional development (CPD) requirements recently changed. You must now do 15 hours of CPD solely focused on pension transfers. But what exactly are the FCA’s requirements? And where can you find the right CPD to meet them?
Like everything else in the financial services sector, the world of pensions and retirement planning is constantly evolving.
This fact was underlined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) when they stated: “Pension transfer specialists require specific knowledge and must demonstrate ongoing competence.”
The FCA’s new CPD requirements for pension transfer specialists came into play on 1 October. You now have to add 15 hours each year specifically on pension transfers to any other CPD that you do as a financial adviser. This must include:
- five hours from an independent source, and
- nine hours of structured CPD.
Why CPD matters
While the FCA have introduced new rules, CPD isn’t just about statutory requirements. It can enhance your career and improve your client relationships.
CPD helps you maintain and build on the knowledge and skills you need to deliver a professional service. It keeps you up to date with the trends and helps you and your business stay ahead.
In short, it should be worth your while. So you need to find CPD that’s going to be interesting, relevant and of a high quality.
How to stay on top of CPD
Although it may sound like a lot, 15 hours a year is only an average of one hour and 30 minutes each month.
It’s always worth looking out for CPD that will support the work you’re currently doing.
For example, if a client tells you they’re getting a divorce or have been divorced previously, you’ll need to look at how that might affect their pension. One CPD block on the effect of divorce on pensions – lasting one hour, 30 minutes – would be ideal.
Make sure your CPD helps you learn
Everyone has a preferred learning style and it’s important to be aware of what sort of study works for you.
It’s also useful to check your learning when you’ve completed a topic or CPD session. This is especially important in CPD as you may need to provide evidence of learning when you log your CPD hours.
Look for CPD activities in different formats – including written, video and audio content – so that you can find something that suits you. Activities that test your knowledge are an added bonus.
Look for an independent source as well as structured CPD
Under the new rules, you need to do at least five hours of CPD from an ‘independent’ source – that is, a CPD provider that’s external to your firm.
You also need to do nine hours of structured CPD.
For many years at LIBF, we’ve been providing CPD activities to support professionals who work in financial advice, and as such we are an ‘independent’ source.
And we offer 10–16 hours of structured CPD in pension transfers in a variety of formats, including written, video and audio.
The number of hours varies because people study at different speeds. You can choose how long you spend on a topic.
Because the learning activities are online, you can access them 24 hours a day from anywhere with an internet connection. We’ve found that helps people fit their CPD around busy working lives.
At the end of an activity, you can use reflective exercises and testing to generate evidence of your CPD hours.
Sue Wiggins is CPD Manager at LIBF and supports advisers with their Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Statements of Professional Standing (SPS) and CPD requirements. With over 30 years in financial services, Sue champions a commitment to CPD and keeping knowledge up to date, for regulatory need and personal desire.
Find out more about our Online Structured CPD