By Claire West

As the financial services sector prepares for the arrival of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), the Financial Skills Partnership has already started to support the industry with the practical implementation of professionalism by updating their highly regarded Training and Competence standards and good practice.

The future of a healthy financial services industry depends on its workforce having the competence and ability to provide good outcomes for consumers. It is vital to continue to strengthen the UK’s much cherished reputation in the global marketplace as a leading hub for the financial services sector.

The Financial Skills Partnership is committed to moving the dial when it comes to enhancing the employability of the sector, increasing its diversity by enabling it to tap into a richer pool of talent and ultimately increasing its competitiveness. It is important that we collaborate with others in the sector - if we are to speed up the competitiveness of the sector, drive growth and strengthen the financial services contribution to the UK economy as a whole.

This month is set to see the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC) introducing its new name as the Financial Skills Partnership to all professional bodies, trade associations, industry stakeholders, awarding bodies, training and learning providers. This will be accompanied by a phased launch of their new Partnership Programme also during the Spring of 2011. The new name represents the partnering of the FSP with employers in the sector to ensure that companies are benefitting from a skilled and highly trained workforce.

Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership says,
“We are delighted to continue to act as the voice for employers in financial services under our new partnership framework and will continue with our main objectives of introducing and retaining new talent and skills in the sector as a whole.”

The FSP is the voice of employers in this sector and plays an important role in lobbying government, influencing the skills agenda and ensuring that your needs are firmly voiced within the heart of Whitehall and policy making. The organisation covers five main financial sub-sectors including accountancy and finance, banking and building societies (wholesale and retail), financial planning, insurance, wealth/ investment management and pensions. The FSP are committed to working closely with employers in the sector to increase and improve the skills of both those entering the sector and those already working in financial services.

One such example of the ways in which the FSP have been helping employers improve the skills set within their organisations is the updated Training and Competence standards and good practice guidance sponsored by Redlands Business Solutions. The guidelines are well-timed to help firms comply with FSA’s strengthened competence and ethics requirements and the professionalism strand of the Retail Distribution Review. As the RDR deadline approaches, we expect that firms will want to take full advantage of this valuable resource, which is due to be available later this month as a free interactive PDF on the FSP web site.

Speaking on the new set of standards and guidance put in place by the FSP with the support of the industry, Joel Turland, Managing Director of Redland Business Solutions said: “Redland is delighted to be sponsoring this much needed set of standards and guidance for the Financial Services sector. Our experience is that many firms struggle with converting regulatory principles into policy and then practice. This is particularly true during the period of extensive change brought about by the RDR.”

Turland added: “This extremely valuable resource, compiled by industry experts and practitioners, pools experience and knowledge into an easy to comprehend set of guidelines. Our Insight T&C system enables firms to embed these good practices into their business, empowering them to efficiently comply with their regulatory responsibilities and also to promote excellence. Redland believes that Training and Competence should no longer be seen as a time consuming, regulatory burden but rather be at the heart of any firm’s strategy to drive improvement into their single biggest asset — their people.”