Woman holding L5 certificate

Alternatives to level 5 may not be as easy as actually completing the qualification

Strategi Institute is of the opinion that the NZCFS5 qualification is a good starting point for the industry. Attaining the qualification and any applicable additional specialist strands will be the cheapest and most defendable method for the vast bulk of the industry. This view is reinforced by Angus Dale Jones – chairman of the Code Working Group - who on Good Returns TV stated “…the competence standard was clearly level Five, with an open number of ways that advisers could show they had reached it. But the easiest way to do so would be to attain the qualification.

He said, in every way the Code Working Group could think of, the process and controls that would be required to give advice at the necessary standard without each person being qualified were more difficult than getting the qualification.”

Strategi Institute would have preferred greater clarity within the code relating to Code Standard 6 where it states “A person may demonstrate competence, knowledge, and skill in a way that is different from those listed above, for example by reference to the financial advice provider’s procedures, systems and expertise. If a person seeks to demonstrate competence, knowledge, and skill by reference to an alternative qualification or experience, they should do so in an objective, measurable and independently verifiable manner.”

Strategi Institute believes that relying exclusively on a FAP’s procedures, systems and expertise will be an expensive undertaking for most businesses and may only work adequately if the FAP has a narrow product range. It is probable only the larger end of town will adopt this approach and even then, it is likely they will ensure many of their staff have attained the level 5 qualification.

Strategi Institute has experience with helping advisers who wish to go down the alternative qualification route. However, it is not a recommended route as past experience indicates it is far from easy, it is time consuming, frustrating and expensive for those who wish to undertake the process of applying for recognition of prior learning and experience. Over the years, we have not found anyone who has existing qualifications which directly cross credit to the NZCFS5 qualification so additional study is still required. The cheapest solution for those who believe they already have the competence, knowledge, and skill to meet the NZCFS5, is to undertake the online qualification and just focus on the assignments. If they start and complete within eight months and are eligible for the Strategi Institute success rebate, then the total investment is under $1,000 plus GST.

If you are still uncertain about whether or not you should complete the qualification, contact Strategi Institute to discuss your situation.