Besides being a regulatory requirement, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) ensures that you continue to be competent in your profession. Training and learning increases confidence, overall capability, complements career aspirations and the ability to adapt positively to changes in industry requirements.
The annual deadline date for FSPs, Key Individuals (KIs) and Representatives (Reps) to comply with the applicable CPD requirements is 31 May. Even though the FSCA recently announced an extension of two months, to the end of July 2019, they have emphasized that this is a once-off extension and does not affect the normal 12-month CPD cycle that will run from the beginning of June to the end of May each year.
In this article we look at planning ahead for the next CPD cycle to avoid a last-minute scramble to collect CPD hours.
The minimum CPD hours required per CPD cycle are:
- 6 hours of CPD activities for a single subclass of business within a single class of business;
- 12 hours of CPD activities for more than one subclass of business within a single class of business; and
- 18 hours of CPD activities for more than one class of business.
In terms of the regulations, all CPD activities must:
- be verifiable and accredited by a professional body. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you do “real CPD”.
- must have a stamp of approval from the professional body.
- must be allocated an approved hourly value.
You must also be able to prove that you ‘did’ the activity.
CPD Training Plan
In terms of the regulations, FSPs must maintain policies, procedures and training plans relating to CPD. They must identify gaps and needs in terms of skill, knowledge and expertise of the FSP, KIs and Reps. These gaps should then be addressed through relevant CPD accredited training. In order to achieve this, a training plan must be implemented, taking into account:
- The functions and the role of the FSP, KIs and Reps;
- The type of training needed to contribute to the skill, knowledge, expertise and professional ethical standards of the FSP, KIs and reps;
- Technical knowledge and identifiable risks;
- Generic knowledge and understanding of the environment in which the financial services are rendered, managed and overseen, such as market trends; and
- Knowledge and understanding of applicable laws, such as legislative and regulatory updates.
The CPD Action Plan
An action plan should be implemented at the start of the CPD cycle (1 June 2019). Having a CPD Plan in place will ensure that FSPs, KIs and Reps can easily and timeously achieve the relevant number of CPD hours for the current CPD cycle (1 June – 31 May) and that the CPD activities are relevant.
Rather than targeting the minimum CPD hours required by regulation, our advice is to first plan the development and training needs and then determine the number of hours it will take to complete this training. The hours that you want, or need should be divided by the remaining number of months in a CPD cycle.
For example, if you want 18 CPD hours, then 18 divided by 12 months would give you 1.5 hours per month.
Take into consideration any plans to be away from the office, for example if you have planned leave, the festive period, or even set aside time for unforeseen circumstances such as an emergency admission to hospital. In these instances, you can divide your CPD hours by the number of months available after putting time aside. This will obviously mean that you need to complete your required number of CPD hours in less than 12 months.
Planning your time and dividing the year and required CPD hours into smaller chunks will ensure that there is no pressure or distress and will avoid the last minute race. Once you have planned a target for yourself on how many CPD hours you need to achieve per month, the next step is to plan how you will achieve your target.
Achieving your target
CPD hours can be obtained either through attendance or non-attendance activities. A mixture of both attendance and non-attendance CPD activities is suggested.
Attendance relates to a CPD accredited event such as a seminar or training which takes place at a venue that you will need to travel to. While non-attendance could take the form of reading CPD accredited material such as newsletters or completing online courses – these can be done without you needing to travel and can be done at any time (including after office hours). These factors such as travelling, taking time out of the office, managing your personal schedule, etc. will determine the type of activity (attendance or non-attendance) you should complete for that particular month to achieve the monthly target of CPD hours that you set for yourself.
For example if your diary is fully booked for a particular month with consultations, annual reviews, etc. then in that particular month it would be wise to choose a non-attendance type CPD activity. This will assist you to still meet your monthly target within the comfort of your own space, be it at the office or at home. Likewise for those months that you do have a few hours to spare, plan ahead and set time in your diary to attend CPD accredited seminars and training. Seminars and training offer good interaction between the facilitator and attendees, it also provides a platform for interaction amongst other members in the industry.
The CPD process should be an enjoyable and an informative experience, helping you to keep up to date with legislative changes and industry requirements, as well as enabling you to better meet the needs of your clients. Attaining your CPD hours should not be rushed through as a means to an end – it should be continuous and not an instant once-off activity. Therefore, the content or topics for CPD should ideally cover the different aspects or areas that you offer to clients – e.g. if you offer investment planning, retirement planning, and short-term insurance, we would suggest that your planned CPD activities should also cover these areas.
The action plan can be structured in ways to track progress as to how many CPD hours were obtained and time frames for obtaining the remaining hours.
Another thing to bear in mind is 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.
The consequences of not meeting the required CPD hours at the end of the CPD cycle (i.e. 31 May)
The FSP must withdraw a Rep’s appointment and remove them from the Rep Register if they do not meet the requirements on or before the deadline date of 31 May. A KI must inform the FSCA that he/she will not meet the requirements and resign prior to the deadline date.
Only once the KI or Rep meets the requirements, can the FSP re-appoint a Rep or re-apply to the FSCA to have a KI approved again.
By setting a target and planning ahead you can ensure the smooth acquisition of CPD hours over the 12 month cycle and avoid the scramble to meet the annual deadline date of 31 May.
Masthead offers various CPD accredited seminars, online courses, newsletters and articles to keep you abreast with the latest industry knowledge and assist with attaining your CPD hours. For more information on our CPD offers, visit the Masthead Learning Centre, contact your Masthead compliance officer or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.