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Accredited training for financial services assistants

20 September 2006 Finance Media

Given challenges facing advisers and their assistants in achieving the qualifications required under the Financial Advisory & Intermediary Services Act (FAIS), Astute, the financial services exchange, and PSG Konsult Academy have joined forces to develop a user-friendly training programme for assistants working in financial services.

The modular programme draws on the combined knowledge, faculty members and expertise of the two companies to provide successful candidates with 15 credits at level five of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

The programme for assistants has been accredited by the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA), and is supported by the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) and LUASA.

Astute managing director Biddie Biddulph comments: "This is a unique opportunity for assistants to improve their qualifications while building their confidence and capabilities.

"Subjects are presented by experts in an interactive manner intended to ensure that assistants not only obtain the necessary credits, but also leave the programme better administrators."

The objective of the training programme is the provision of a range of technical skills, as well as a broad base of knowledge in fields ranging from customer satisfaction to time management, life industry products and compliance with financial services legislation.

The programme is to be presented in Gauteng, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, with facilitation in other areas also possible subject to a minimum of 20 participants.

Kobus Serfontein, chief executive officer of PSG Konsult Academy and a senior lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, says the programme takes into account the fact that many assistants will not have studied for some time.

"Tutoring, including individual support, takes place in venues quipped with online computers. Participants, who are assessed at the end of the programme, are also provided with learning material and workbooks.

"Tutoring takes place at two one-day study schools, with a three to four-week break in between to complete the workbooks provided. Modules in the first study group cover basic effectiveness training, while the second school focuses on core life insurance industry training."

The second training school, developed by Astute, takes into account new responsibilities placed on intermediaries, especially time-consuming compliance with legislation.

Says Helena Henning, developer of the Astute Training Programme: "The aim is to enable assistants to become more effective in helping advisers run their practices by spending more time with clients and less on administration."

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