This is the second year that financial services providers (FSPs) and key individuals are required to meet certain continuous professional development (CPD) requirements.
The CPD cycle is 12 months, from June 1 to May 31 the following year. However, both last year and this year have seen the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) extend the cycle.
Distribution specialist and RegTech service provider BLACK ONYX director Andrew Ludwig answers Moneyweb’s questions on the latest CPD developments, particularly amid the challenges presented by the Covid-19 lockdown.
Note, BLACK ONYX operates the Moneyweb CPD Hub, which offers FSPs over 200 hours of verifiable, Fais-accredited CPD content.
Why is obtaining CPD points a requirement for FSPs?
In order to offer financial advice or provide an intermediary service, the key individuals and representatives of each FSP must remain ‘fit and proper’ according to the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (Fais) Act as prescribed by the FSCA. This requires additional ‘professional learning’ of up to 18 hours per year, in some cases as much as 35 hours, as in the case of certified financial planners (CFPs). Failure to do so could result in debarment of individuals and suspension of services for the entire FSP. Essentially the CPD requirements ensure the persons responsible for individuals’ financial affairs are up to date with the financial world around them, to deliver the best service and advice.
The deadline for CPD points has been extended to August 31. Do you think this will be enough time for FSPs to accumulate their needed CPD points, given the massive effect lockdown has had on business?
The FSCA’s response to the lockdown saw many extensions granted to the financial services sector to support FSPs. One such extension was for CPD, which really only caters for service providers offering face-to-face events and for key individuals and representatives anxious about the online substitutes.
The first year of CPD (2018-2019) was somewhat of a landgrab to win the support of independent financial advisors (IFAs) with some pressure on the service providers (asset managers and insurers) to satisfy their sales force with events that generated CPD points for attendance. These have all been mothballed indefinitely.
One must also be considerate of the average age of an IFA (in SA) being 58 and the anxiety about going digital and in some cases having to do online questionnaires. But there is hope, read on.
It’s unlikely face-to-face events will return before August 31, noting there are numerous established ways to meet each and every Fais CPD requirement online, but be certain you are working with an accredited CPD service provider.
There is a glut of content if you look online. For example, many of the asset managers had their quarterly newsletters accredited, all you need to do is answer a few questions to prove you have read the content. These are freely available on a platform like the Moneyweb CPD Hub, to satisfy the required 18 verifiable CPD hours.
How is the Moneyweb CPD Hub best able to assist in the challenge that lockdown presents in terms of CPD point accumulation?
The Moneyweb CPD Hub was established in Q1 2019 to aggregate high-quality verifiable CPD content from a range of CPD service providers like asset managers, insurers, media and specialists content creators like BLACK ONYX. The service is freely available for time-short financial professionals who have a choice of free and specialised CPD content available online and offline, on their phone, tablet or computer.
You create a free account on the Moneyweb CPD Hub, select the courses most appropriate to your specific Fais CPD requirements and check-out as you would on any e-commerce platform with an online EFT or credit card payment. Thereafter you access the learner management system (LMS) referred to as YOUR CPD HUB and complete the course on your phone or PC. Certificates are issued immediately and stored in your user profiles.
Corporates who wish to upload large teams can contact the CPD HUB support specialists to handle all the online registrations and group onboarding. The additional CPD SCORECARD service is also available to manage teams’ CPD certificates more efficiently.
How has the Moneyweb CPD Hub offering changed from 2019?
When we launched the Moneyweb CPD Hub, we had one 18-hour package supporting investment professionals. Over the past year we have aggregated content from around the world, had it accredited by three CPD accrediting bodies, and made it available online. There are now over 50 packages offering over 200 hours of verifiable CPD, suited to both the investment and insurance professionals covering topics like:
- Data sciences and machine learning
- Ethics and practice standards
- Financial analysts and planning
- Professional skills and abilities
- Quarterly newsletters from asset managers (free CPD)
What is fundamentally different on the Moneyweb CPD Hub is that users no longer need to do online assessments for some of the video content, as per recent amendments to the guidelines of some accrediting bodies. User engagement will be tracked to prove they accessed the content and a verifiable CPD certificate will be issued immediately after. This should appeal to those anxious about digital and online assessments.
Access the Moneyweb CPD Hub here and watch the video below for details on how the Hub works: