On 17 May 2019, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) published FAIS Notice 35 of 2019: Exemption from Continuous Professional Development Requirements which sets out an Exemption from Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements. The FSCA also published an Explanatory Note: Exemption from Continuous Professional Development Requirements together with the Exemption Notice which explains the background and the exemption in a bit more detail.
The Exemption applies to Financial Services Providers (FSPs), Key Individuals (KIs) and Representatives (Reps) who are members of foreign professional bodies. The Exemption Notice is as a result of an investigation by the FSCA, following a number of exemption applications, regarding the relevance and appropriateness of CPD activities offered by foreign professional bodies who are not recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as professional bodies. The definition of a “CPD activity” in the Fit and Proper Requirements requires that for an activity to qualify as a CPD activity it must be accredited by a Professional Body, which is defined as a “…body recognised by the SAQA as a professional body…”. As these foreign professional bodies did not meet the definition of a professional body, any activity accredited by them could not count as CPD hours.
After its investigation, the FSCA has satisfied itself that there are grounds for an exemption and therefore, FSPs, Key Individuals and Reps who are members of foreign professional bodies are exempt from CPD requirements to the extent that all references to “CPD activity” in the Fit and Proper Requirements must be read as including an “extended CPD activity” as defined in the Exemption Notice.
An “’extended CPD activity’ means an activity, other than product specific training and an activity performed towards a qualification, that is –
(a) recognised by a foreign professional body;
(b) allocated an hour value or part thereof by the foreign professional body; and
The definition of “foreign professional body” in the Exemption Notice means “a foreign body with individual members practicing a profession or occupation, and which body maintains oversight of the knowledge, skills conduct and practices of that profession or occupation.”
This means that any FSP, Key Individual or Rep that is a member of a foreign professional body (as defined) is able to count activities recognised by the foreign professional body, which meet the definition of an “extended CPD activity”, towards the number of CPD hours needed for FAIS purposes. The FSCA lists some of the designations which fall within the scope of this Exemption in the Explanatory Note, such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), Financial Risk Manager (FRM), to name a few.
The exemption came into effect on 17 May 2019 and will provide some relief to those FSPs, Key Individuals and Reps to whom it applies.
The Explanatory Note also lists a contact person if further information is required regarding the exemption. In such instances contact Karien Nel via email at Karien.Nel@fsca.co.za from the Regulatory Framework Department at the FSCA.