Article date: 20 March 2008
The Norwich Union Financial Adviser Academy will launch on 31 March, offering a blended package of learning support to help give practising financial advisers the best possible chance of attaining the CII Diploma in Financial Planning.
In the eight weeks since the initiative was announced, Norwich Union has received over 400 e-mails from financial advisers expressing interest in becoming a member. Steve Gay, director of distribution development at Norwich Union, commented: "We have been delighted by the sheer volume of interest that we have received in the past two months without any formal marketing - we have simply been spreading the word to advisers through our network of broker consultants throughout the UK and through our five RDR Roadshow events.
"This just illustrates the real appetite among advisers to take the initiative, in advance of any future FSA announcement, to raise their professional standing and achieve a recognised higher-level qualification."
Norwich Union has developed the initiative in partnership with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and in line with both organisations' proposals to promote the financial advice profession. Membership of a recognised professional body is a pre-requisite of joining The Norwich Union Financial Adviser Academy.
CII director of Financial Services Markets, Steve Jenkins, said: "It is encouraging so many in the market are expressing an interest in becoming a member of a professional body. Over the coming weeks the CII will be communicating to over 30,000 members to explain the level of qualifications needed for the post-RDR landscape. The consensus among the providers we are talking to is that achieving Diploma level should be the industry benchmark."
Maggie Craig, director of life and savings at the ABI, said: "The insurance industry believes that a higher minimum standard of qualification can help raise consumer confidence in financial advice. Across the board, life and pension providers are looking to see how they can support the drive for greater professionalism. This can only be good for the customer."
Advisers can visit The Norwich Union Financial Adviser Academy at www.nu-academy.co.uk and register to join from 31 March. Support for advisers will build throughout the year to include:
- Tools and guidance to make it easier to start and get the most out of study time:
Beginning your course of study towards Diploma might seem like a daunting task, but Norwich Union's self-study planning tools and study techniques could help to make it easier to start and to keep going. Advisers can also find help to apply their acquired technical knowledge and understand the business context, through on-line case studies and self-study questions.
- Support from Norwich Union's team of specialist trainers and consultants
Norwich Union's training team has many years of experience in helping financial advisers to be more successful in examinations and will host regular "virtual classroom" conference calls and add on-line training support throughout the year to include podcast and webcast presentations.
Some advisers may also be interested in applying to attend one of Norwich Union's CII approved Revision Workshops. These sessions will be held around the UK in the weeks leading up to the exam dates and its limited places will most benefit advisers who have progressed through their self-study.
- Access to a recommended package of CII learning materials at a competitive price
Norwich Union has arranged a competitive cost for its recommended package of CII learning materials: this contains exam entry, Course Book with 12-month update and ed.learn, the CII's online learning centre. The package can be purchased direct from the CII after completing registration and joining The Norwich Union Financial Adviser Academy.
- Focused support
Advisers must accumulate a minimum of 140 credits, 80 of which must be at Diploma level, which is equivalent to sitting four of the Diploma in Financial Planning units. In 2008 members of The Norwich Union Financial Adviser Academy can receive focussed support for J05 Pension Income Options and J06 Investment Principles Markets and Environment and in 2009 support will be added for J02 Trusts and the J04 Pension Funding Options unit. This offers advisers a number of possible study routes to achieving Diploma, in respect of the order and number of exam units to sit each year:
Support for exam sittings in:
(J04) Pension funding options
(j05) Pension income options
(J06) Investment principles markets and environment
Press office contacts:
Louise Soulsby 01904 452617
Robert Pell 01904 452659
Notes to editors:
About Norwich Union
Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer. It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.
Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.