Why advisers should not be scared of ‘going back to school’

There is a degree of fear and trepidation among some segments of the adviser industry regarding undertaking the New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services Level 5 (NZCFS5). This unease is understandable as for many older advisers, they have not been back to school for decades. However, the school of today is far different to the school that might have concerned them decades ago.

Today, their Level 5 school can be:

  • Working online, or via a hard copy manual, to understand the content and complete the assignments.
  • Attending a classroom course where the person up the front is no longer the font of all knowledge. Instead that person is trained in adult learning and education and is using facilitation skills to harness the expertise within the class to derive the answers.
  • Most advisers will not have to sit any memory type exams. Everything is open book and assessed through assignments and case studies.
  • Additionally, advisers can choose to have some of the assessment undertaken via workplace assessment. This is more expensive than choosing online/distance or classroom methods but can suit some advisers.

Is the work technically hard and do lots fail?

The simple answer is NO.

Level 5 for financial advisers is at the same level as that required for trades such as plumbers, drainlayers, gasfitters, roofers and scaffolders to be eligible to apply for certification.

Over the years, we have had thousands of advisers through the level 5 courses with very few not completing their study.

Common issues that make the study seem ‘harder’ than it actually is are:

  • Over-thinking the question then over-engineering the answer. The questions are pretty basic, so much so that some advisers think that simplicity must be a trap and try to read more into the question than what is required.
  • Assignments are left until the last minute before their enrolment expires. At that point, anyone who has been to a classroom course has forgotten much of what was learned and discussed, panic sets in because the enrolment is about to expire, and so assignments are completed in a slap dash manner resulting in re-submissions being required.
  • People need to have a reasonable grasp of English and be able to produce work to a professional standard (as required by the unit standards). This does not mean spelling and grammar has to be absolutely perfect, but it does mean that it needs to be sufficiently good that it is coherent and understandable.

If you do find you are struggling with the study or the assignment work, then contact Strategi Institute sooner rather than later. We have a range of support options to help you through your study giving you every chance to succeed.

Does it take long to complete?

The current NZCFS5 needs a minimum of 60 credits. NZQA suggests 1 credit equates to 10 hours of study or work. This, theoretically, is 600 hours or 15 weeks. The reality is it is unlikely to take anywhere near that amount of time. If an adviser undertakes a two-day classroom course, then the assignment work (per strand) should take less than a week to complete, providing the adviser commences the assignments shortly after having completed the course. This assumes the adviser puts a good degree of effort into making the first submission of each assignment really good. Time quickly escalates if assignments are rushed and sub-standard. This results in multiple resubmissions and burns time.

Don’t assume you can simply go on line, undertake a series of multi-choice questions and have it all done and dusted in a day or two. This is a full NZQA certificate so expect it to take some time.

If you are considering starting your Level 5 study but are still apprehensive, contact Strategi Institute and they can talk you through your concerns.