Recently, the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) released amendments to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours. In order to qualify with the ‘Fit and Proper’ criteria, CPD development must specifically address future skills gaps through targeted competency training. Additionally, any CPD activity must be verifiable and accredited by a professional body. Financial Services Providers (FSPs), key individuals (KIs) and representatives are under pressure to achieve their 18 CPD Hours (Commercial and Personal Lines), or 12 CPD Hours (Personal Lines only) – and make sure these are meaningful.
Karen Muuren, head: Segment Solutions at Santam Intermediated Business, says that CPD providers like Santam are committed to partnering with intermediaries to ensure they receive the right kind of training, “We have a professional mandate to support intermediaries in their CPD goals. At Santam, we also see it as our responsibility and privilege. The industry is evolving rapidly – as are clients’ expectations. CPD is one of the best ways to set a benchmark and ensure we’re tracking ahead of the curve and providing South Africans with seamless, world-class service.”
Muuren says that Santam has a dedicated learning and development team that continuously evolves offerings to pre-emptively prepare intermediaries for industry changes. “It can’t be a tick-box exercise. It needs to be a longstanding commitment. In the first CPD cycle, we found several intermediaries completed CPD activities that were irrelevant to their particular role in terms of the products and services that the FSP/ KI/ Rep offers. For example, a broker would take part in training for life products when they were only licenced for short-term products. Hence the need for us to ensure there’s the right scope of affordable and relevant CPD activities for our business partners.”
To recap, FSPs/KIs/Reps must ensure that the type and combination of CPD activities undertaken:
- Are relevant to their function and role.
- Contribute to their knowledge, skills, expertise, professional and ethical standards.
- Address any identified gaps in technical knowledge, generic knowledge, the context within which the financial services are rendered and knowledge of the applicable laws.
- Take into consideration changes to internal/external conditions relevant to the financial service and financial products of the particular FSP/KI/Rep.
Here, Muuren outlines some of the initiatives Santam has put in place:
1. Provide free learning
Free, appropriate courses sit in a central portal (the Santam Learning Portal) for intermediary partners to continuously access. The content is consistently updated, and certificates are issued upon successful completion of assessments. These certificates can be submitted to compliance officers for CPD hours tracking. The take-out: Learning can be done in one’s own time which makes it easier to slot in.
2. Host regular intermediary interactions
Regular opportunities for relevant and appropriate intermediary interactions where CPD hours can be earned are key. Santam creates these through:
- Barometer Report Presentations
- Santam Conferences
- Santam Broker Breakfasts
3. Find new mediums to get information across
What better way to show the dangers of fraud than through a film? Shake up traditional CPD activities by introducing different mediums to get the message across. Santam’s Group Business Integrity Unit screened the Wizard of Lies during Fraud Awareness Week, with a debriefing. This reached people in a new way and earned business partners three CPD hours each.
4. Constantly evolve offerings in 2020
CPD events must keep pace with rapidly shifting client expectations in a dramatically different digital age together with other changing external conditions relevant to the Financial Services industry.
This means a continuous evolution of subject matter to be real-world relevant. In 2020, Santam will offer even more accredited events that feature an array of subject matter experts talking about relevant topics and courses.
In addition, Santam Risk Services will extend its accredited Risk Identification Assessment (RIA) course to its intermediary partners, as part of the growth of its offering.
Muuren concludes “As a CPD provider, Santam ensures that all its CPD activities are submitted to IISA/FPI/ICFP (SAQA recognised bodies) to be accredited and allocated with an hour value, therefore intermediaries know exactly what hours they will be getting for the cycle.”