Advisers need to prepare now for the ‘biggest’ change in pensions legislation
The changes being introduced represent the biggest upheaval in the pensions industry since the introduction of personal pensions in 1988. Taking effect in April 2006, these will result in the eight current sets of pension rules being amalgamated into one universal regime for tax-privileged savings. The new CII course – Pensions Simplification Update Programme – will enable advisers to develop their understanding of the new regime and test their knowledge of the changes. CII deputy director general Bob Bullivant says, “Pensions simplification is anything but simple and we have designed this course to help those who have studied the old pension regime to update their knowledge. They will receive a learning statement which they can use as evidence that they have updated their knowledge.” From April 6, 2006 (A-Day) pensions advice must be compliant with the changes and advisers must be fully trained and competent. The CII’s course is designed for both advisers and pensions administrators and is appropriate for the 125,000 people who have completed FP2 (Paper 2 of the Financial Planning Certificate) and for holders of financial planning qualifications from other UK awarding bodies. The course comprises a combined study guide, updates for 12 months and exam package. The first exam will be held in April. The exam will be in multiple choice format and candidates will be expected to answer 50 questions in one hour. The course is designed to take no more than 40 hours and is available for £100 CII/PFS members / £110 non-members. By the end of the course, candidates should understand the new Inland Revenue pensions regime; the range of permitted investments, retirement options and transitional protections available under the new regime. The course will sit within the CII’s new Financial Services Qualifications and Competence Framework. Those who complete it will receive a ‘Record of Achievement’ that can be produced for the regulator as evidence of compliance, as well as counting towards an advisers’ professional development.