December 1st, 2010
A pioneering Bradford-based initiative to encourage more people to become suitably qualified independent financial advisers has won national recognition.
The first intake of undergraduates on a new four-year BSc degree course in financial planning – the first of its kind in the UK – began their studies at Bradford University School of Management in September.
The students spend three years studying with a guaranteed one-year work placement in a move aimed at establishing Bradford as a national centre of excellence in financial services training .
Co-operation between local firms. which led to the establishment of the Yorkshire IFA Forum, chaired by Bradford-based adviser David Cubitt, and the launch of the degree course has won a national Initiative of the Year award from investment company Scottish Widows.
YIFAF was formed to tackle key challenges facing the sector, such as the need to encourage talented graduates to train as IFAs.
Input from members and expertise from the School of Management’s head of accounting and finance group, Professor Mark Freeman and senior lecturer in accounting, Dr Musa Mangena, led to the bespoke degree for IFAs.
Prof Freeman said “This is a changing profession and new rules brought in by the Financial Services Authority mean UK advisers practising after 2012 need to meet tough minimum qualification standards.
“Our first intake of students will not only exceed the minimum educational requirement, they will also have the essential work placement experience that employers need.” Prof Freeman, who sits on the YIFAF board, is exploring further opportunities for the school and forum to work together through mentoring, executive education for directors and conversion courses for graduates from other disciplines to retrain as IFAs.
Those responsible for bringing together IFA business were Bradford firms Beaumont Robinson and Ebor Asset Management along with Leeds-based Pearson Jones. The Forum is backed by Financial Leeds.
Mr Cubitt, of Beaumont Robinson, said: “Getting the new degree off the ground and winning national recognition for the initiative is a real achievement for Bradford and will help to highlight the fact that we have a thriving financial services sector in the district.
“To some extent this work has just started. We want to get more IFAs in the region to engage with and to place students. A particular challenge is to get new young talent to enter the profession. IFAs tend to be small organisations which limits the number of placements they can offer.
“For the sector to grow and thrive in Bradford and the rest of Yorkshire we all need to encourage more bright young people to get into business as those who succeed will be offering employment opportunities to others in the future.
“The work we have done with the School of Management to raise the bar on education in the IFA sector was a major factor in winning the award.”
Source: Telegraph & Argus