Time is running out for Jersey based advisors to become compliant with the Review of Financial Advice requirements with a deadline of 31st December 2013.
JIBS are excited to announce their new Pass Guarantee for the Investment Advice Diploma (IAD) and Private Client Investment Advice and Management (PCIAM) papers. This provides peace of mind when booking your course and, in the unlikely event you fail your exam, you will be placed on the next available course free of charge.
The Jersey Financial Services Commission (“the JFSC”) confirmed on the 7th November 2012 that they are proceeding with the recommendations in relation to investment advice. So if you are one of those people who thought this would go away, bad news unfortunately. However, the good news is there are plenty of options available to help you get your qualifications.
Jersey International Business School offers many different options based on your needs and your level of knowledge. A very popular route is the CISI Level 6 Private Client Investment Advice and Management paper (PCIAM). This is a way to get qualified by sitting one exam. The exams are sat every three months and we offer courses four times a year. With a 100% pass rate for both July and September 2012 and 93% pass rate for May, our success speaks for itself.
I had the pleasure of visiting Cyprus recently to deliver a training session for the Association of Cypriot Bankers on Derivatives. Now, for most people a full day of derivatives would be enough to necessitate a trip to the doctors, but the 21 people on the course really enjoyed it!
Out of 21 people in the room 12 were qualified to CFA level. This is the Chartered Financial Analyst programme, which is widely accepted as the gold standard of industry qualifications for finance professionals. The fact that half of the people there were qualified to this level blew me away. In Jersey, I am led to believe that we have around 100 CFA Charterholders, out of 12,000 finance professionals. The room for growth in these numbers is obvious and so it was whilst I was in Cyprus that I made the decision Jersey International Business School should launch the qualification this year.
I’m really lucky – I love what I do. Being involved with students taking exams is fascinating. At first many people don’t enjoy study and then, as the knowledge starts to build and it starts to fall into place, they get addicted. We’ve helped over 100 people through investment exams so far this year and the successful ones (of which that’s about 90%) have got the bug.
I had the fabulous opportunity recently to visit the beautiful Island of Trinidad to attend the Caribbean Regional Compliance Association conference. The conference was very well attended and included speakers from the British Virgin Islands, USA and Jersey. Stephen Platt, executive director of JIBS and Principal of Stephen Platt & Associates LLP, spoke at length about the risks for finance in relation to sanctions. The audience was extremely interested to learn of the dangers of dealing with the US Dollar and they were shocked at finding out how large the fines are that are levied against banks for sanctions breaches. Continue reading →
We often hear about poor customer service and tales of frustration, however this week I found myself fortunate enough to be the recipient of some really outstanding service – yes, here in Jersey!
I’d had an internet connection problem that was driving me slightly crazier than usual at home. Dutifully I contacted my supplier and was expecting to spend hours on the phone talking to someone who would ask me to do the obvious and turn it off and on again. (At this point I would really like to ask why these people think we wouldn’t think to do such a thing ourselves?! “Really – I had never thought about turning it off and then back on – you’re a genius, dear Mr Computer engineer”).
However, I didn’t get this. I got a very polite and very professional gent who talked to me about the problem, (they used to call this listening skills I think). Then, he talked me through his recommendations (this was called communication skills I recall) followed by his explanation about what was going to happen next. Then, a very strange thing happened – he did what he said he would. He then kept me updated by professional, courteous email contact which really impressed me.
We don’t always get this level of customer service of course, and I know the company in question have invested heavily in ensuring a great client service. As the world evolves we have more and more choice in most areas, and customer service can often be the deciding factor for choosing where to take our custom.
I have plenty of poor customer service stories, as I’m sure you do too. If you and your organisation are passionate and genuine about customer service then sometimes it’s the basics that pay the greatest dividend. My experience this week taught me that and as you are now reading this you also know my internet connection is thankfully working! So thank you for great customer service to the person I spoke to, and thank you to the company in question for taking customer service seriously.
At times, it’s like Chinese whispers with the RFA/RDRqualifications with reluctant students exploring all possibilities to find a get-out clause. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone asked me if their swimming proficiency badgecould provide them with an exemption and fill the gap!
Only this week I was ‘reliably’ informed that the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment are scrapping the Level 6 Private Client Investment Advice and Management (PCIAM) paper at the end of this year. Having spoken to the Institute they informed me that this most certainly isn’t the case since numbers are understandably strong in both the UK and the Crown Dependencies. I’m not sure why anyone would want to scrap one of thepossible exam routes forachieving RFA/RDR compliance, but it just goes to show that the rumour mill can be a dangerous place.
As an Accredited Training Provider (ATP) for CISI,we havebeen asked to provide support to students in Jersey and other jurisdictions globally, which can sometimes lead to more exotic locations. This week alone I experienced the balmy weather and mild, temperate, winter climate of the Isle of Man.Since the IOM have now decided that they will follow the UK intraining their investment advisers, it suggests to me that other Islands, who have not yet made a move along this path, will also do so at some point since no financial centre will want to be left behind. In that respect,I am hoping CISI will come knocking on my door for help when the Caymans Islands decide to push ahead.
Time is ticking now, and bearing in mind that these qualifications can take 12 months to complete, people are starting to feel the pressure. It is extremely tough to combine successful study with a busy career and so I really admire the commitment some people have already shown to their studies.
One thing I have noticed is that none of the routes to compliance are easy. Some advisers have assumed that industry experience alone will get them through but of course this myth has been exploded. I personally know that all the exams are challenging since I have taken them myself - I thought it only fair that I did them if I am helping other people to get through!
So please remember – I didn’t make up the new qualification requirements, but I am here to help ensure that you succeed.
After the many scandals of recent years it takes a lot to shock me these days. However, shocked I was. I’d just finished watching ‘Hunting Madoff’, a fabulous film (if you’re a geek like me that is) looking at the Ponzi scheme, that was the Madoff fund. It wasn’t the scale of the fraud that shocked me, or the truly heartbreaking stories from individuals who had lost every penny of their lifesavings. What shocked me so much, was the absolute ineptitude of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the regulators in the US. The film details the story of Harry Markopolos, an investment manager based in the US who saw the Madoff fund for what it was – 10 years before the fund failed with over $50billion under management.
He’d noticed that the fund ALWAYS performed well in any market. He figured this was impossible, to outperform everyone, no matter what the market conditions. It had to be a scam. Continue reading →