An authorised financial adviser must maintain and keep current a professional development plan

Continuing professional development

Strategi Institute has a number of training and development options that meet both the CPD requirements for AFAs, and offer RFAs and QFE advisers a way to up-skill and help maintain their professional competence.

Strategi Institute’s training and development options allow advisers to help meet:

  • The requirement to demonstrate ‘competence, knowledge and skill’
  • Individual targets to improve technical, personal and business management skills.

What is CPD?

Continuing professional development (CPD) is on-going training undertaken by an adviser to help maintain their professional competence and to gain new knowledge and skills. It may relate to an adviser’s technical skills, business management skills or even personal development.

CPD can take many forms such as online, correspondence or classroom training, attendance at conferences etc.

All CPD training undertaken by an adviser should relate back to their professional development plan to ensure the training is relevant and appropriate. See our CPD Annual Guide for detailed information on the preparation and maintenance of a Professional Development Plan (PDP) and a sample template.

Structured vs unstructured CPD

Structured CPD must meet certain requirements. According to the Code, in must:

  • Have identifiable aims and outcomes relevant to the learning needs identified by the adviser in their PDP; and
  • Be provided by a qualified educator or relevant subject matter expert; and
  • Provide for interaction and feedback; and
  • Participation must be verifiable by documentation (such as a CPD certificate issued by Strategi Institute).

Note the Code specifically states that "structured professional development may include technical product training but excludes training provided for the principal purpose of promoting a particular financial product."

The Code no longer uses the term ‘unstructured CPD’, referring simply to ‘additional training’. However, this does not mean advisers should cease general reading or any other form of relevant training as all professionals need to keep current with trends and developments in their industry. There is no required minimum for unstructured CPD.

Why should I do CPD – do I even need to do it?

Regulatory requirement

All AFAs are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours structured relevant CPD over 24 months (two CPD periods). An AFA’s CPD 'period' will usually run from 1 January until 31 December of the same year.

RFAs and QFE advisers have no prescribed minimum (yet). However, any financial adviser, when providing a financial adviser service, must exercise the care, diligence, and skill that a reasonable financial adviser would exercise in the same circumstances (S33 of the FA Act 2008).

CPD training is strongly recommended for RFAs and QFE advisers to maintain competence and to be able to demonstrate skill and professionalism.

Note: Standard 10 of the Code sets out the minimum requirements for CPD for Financial Advisers. The minimum standards mentioned above may change once the draft code has been finalised.

Professional requirement

CPD plays a key role in encouraging public confidence in the professionalism of financial advisers.

A professional financial adviser who is really serious about doing a quality job for their client would voluntarily subscribe to the standards deemed to be the minimum for an AFA. In the event of a dispute or litigation in the future, those who are making a determination or ruling about the competency of the financial adviser may use the care, diligence and skill requirements of an AFA as the benchmark of professionalism. Therefore, from a best practice perspective, Strategi recommends all financial advisers abide by Code Standards 14, 17 and 18 (from the current Code of Professional Conduct for Authorised Financial Advisers) until the new Code has been finalised.

How can I do CPD?

Advisers can earn structured CPD hours across a wide range of study areas including legislation, investment, insurance, foreign exchange, mortgage advising, personal and business development. Training can be delivered several ways so an adviser can pick and choose to suit:

  • Several hundred online articles covering numerous subject areas and topics are available through Radar, Strategi Institute’s online training delivery platform.
  • Short courses can be conducted via classroom learning.
  • Specialist one and two day conferences.
  • Unit standards making up the NZCFS Level 5 strands are available via classroom learning, and in many cases online learning through Radar.

How do I decide what CPD to do?

For CPD training to really count it must be relevant to the identified training needs of individual adviser. For example, there is no point in an AFA wasting money on training only to find that the training is not considered relevant, and so does not contribute to their structured hours requirement.

Strategi Institute has produced a simple guide to help an adviser consider their circumstances now, identify where they want to be in the future, and help them identify training to fill the gap. Refer to our CPD Annual Guide for detailed information on this process and what to look for when evaluating the CPD training on offer from a wide variety of providers.

What if I need help?

If you are struggling to work out what you need to do, or if you know what you need to do but can’t identify the appropriate training, contact us for assistance.