29 May 2019


Is there an Alternative to Level 5?


After months of discussions and submissions, the Code of Professional Conduct has now been released by Minister Faafoi. The Professional IQ College, like everyone else, was waiting for this legislation to appear so we could finally set our plans for what the code meant, the impact to our members and the wider financial adviser community, and if there was any wriggle room to allow for RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning).

There is no doubt that, according to the Chair of the Code Working Group, Angus Dale-Jones, the minimum acceptable competence standard is the current Level 5, albeit with an open number of ways advisers could show they had reached it. But, according to Angus, the easiest way to do so would be to attain the qualification. He said in an interview with Good Returns TV recently that “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.”

This may seem like an over exaggeration to prove competency but the issue lies simply in the fact that the code states the minimum acceptable level is Level 5. So how do you go about proving something else you have completed over your time as an adviser stacks up against the current qualification? 

In part two of the Code surrounding Competence, Knowledge and Skill, the commentary states “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”. What does this mean? Let’s say you did a Massey course in financial services ten years ago. You would need to get the course material (if it is still available!) submit that to an independently verifiable organisation (like Skills Org) and ask them to bridge that course to Level 5. This will take time, money and effort and no matter what the outcome is, you will almost definitely be required to do a bridging paper anyway to bridge the gap between your previous course and Level 5. Now assume 500 other advisers are going to do the same thing. I suggest you don’t want to be at the end of the queue!

In our opinion (and yes, we have a vested interest in the outcome) it will be easier, cheaper and quicker to do the Level 5 qualification. Give us a call. We are here to help you through this transition period. If you qualify for the rebate it will cost you as little as $900 plus GST.

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