With the new FSCA CPD cycle starting this month, it may seem like a good time to take a break from all things CPD. However, now is the best time to reflect on the previous cycle and decide how you will approach the new cycle. The CPD process is after all, a circular series of ongoing activities.
Continuous professional development (CPD) is the ongoing process of developing, maintaining, and documenting your professional skills. There are two considerations to keep in mind when it comes to CPD for FSPs and advisors:
- It is a regulatory requirement prescribed by the FSCA that with every CPD cycle, you need to ensure a certain amount of accredited training is carried out and documented.
- CPD is the ongoing process of developing, maintaining, and documenting your professional skills.
The latter is what we focus on in this article. Besides keeping you up to date with legislative changes and industry requirements, CPD is a commitment to your professional growth. It is taking responsibility for developing your own skills and recognising when and where it can be improved, but more so it enables you to better meet the needs of your clients.
So, how will you approach the CPD cycle? To assist you in finding an approach and help you plan, we share tips, questions, and tools you can use at each stage of the CPD process. The process moves from identifying your training needs through reflection and planning and then carrying out and recording your learning activities, to finally evaluating and applying your learning.
We encourage you to reflect on the previous cycle and identify whether you need to gain new knowledge and new skills to better meet the needs of your clients and run a sustainable practice. Use your clients’ feedback received over the last year and identify the knowledge and skills that have been challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will help you decide whether you need to improve and focus on certain skills or gain a better understanding on a topic relevant to your practice or clients.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the important topics or skills required in my role and function?
- What knowledge/skill set is worth looking into because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on my business and clients?
- What can I do better in the new CPD cycle?
Tip: Make sure that the learning areas and topics you choose are relevant and appropriate to the role and function you are in. The relevance and the spread are important factors that the FSCA will look at when assessing your CPD records.
At this stage you will need to research ways in which you can address the gaps you have identified during the reflection stage by sourcing relevant CPD-accredited learning. Set clear milestones on how you will get to your goal and how you will track and review your progress.
Some questions you may need to ask yourself:
- How am I going to learn the important topics and skills relevant to my role and function to manage the gaps in my knowledge and practice?
- How much time do I have to learn these skills?
- What should I start with?
Bear in mind that there are many ways in which you can learn, and you are not confined to a single format of learning. CPD hours can be obtained either through attendance which may be a webinar or non-attendance activities which can take the form of reading CPD-accredited material such as newsletters or completing online courses. A mixture of both attendance and non-attendance CPD activities is suggested.
Tool: You can use the Masthead Learning Centre to meet your CPD targets. You can find out more about our CPD-accredited webinars and online learning activities here.
Action and record
Once you’ve planned how you will take on your training needs and determined the number of hours you need to set aside to complete your training, you will need to put your plan into action.
When doing this, it is important to remember that apart from the CPD requirements, there is an overall responsibility on an FSP to ensure that all its Reps are competent to render the financial services for which they are authorised. This means that FSPs should not look at CPD hours as a target to meet and tick off but should rather see this as part of overall training and development so that they can meet their responsibilities and their duty of care to clients.
Another important part of the training is being able to demonstrate it. You should therefore keep track of all your training activities. The aim of this is to be able to show how your skills and knowledge have developed over a period.
Tool: You can use is our Competence Register to log and track all your CPD training activities. Activities completed on the Masthead Learning Centre are automatically logged and you can add your own training records and upload supporting documents. Learn more about the competence register.
Before the end of the CPD cycle, we recommend that you give yourself enough time to measure whether your plan and action, delivered what you had hoped for. Work out whether you have learned what you set out to learn and how it has improved your practice. This will also give you enough room to catch up on your training if you need to and complete the last few hours of your training.
CPD is an ongoing process and it is therefore a good idea to develop a process that works for you at an early stage of your CPD cycle to ensure a smooth and simple way to maintain and enhance your professional knowledge and skills.