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In today’s fast-changing Financial Services market, knowledge gained through qualifications quickly dates.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) demonstrates your commitment to keeping your knowledge current. This in turn will not only help you develop new skills and adapt to change, but also build client trust and boost your credibility.

With CPD now a compulsory requirement across all conduct regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII), we outline 5 tips to help you effectively plan, execute and reflect on your CPD.

5 CPD Tips for Financial Advisors

When completing Continuing Professional Development, Financial Advisers should aim to identify their learning needs and build a plan to fulfil their career ambitions. Our 5 CPD tips for Financial Advisors will get you started:

1. Identify your learning and development needs

Planning your CPD begins with making an honest assessment of your current situation and determining your professional development goals. When evaluating your learning and development needs, it’s useful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?

  • What do I need to learn?

  • How will I learn it?

The next step is to create a plan of action to achieve these goals.

2. Plan your continuous professional development around your learning needs

When you have answered the questions above, you will be able to lay out your learning objectives. Learning objectives are what you may be expected to know, or the skills you need to further your career. As a Financial Adviser, you may identify a need to update your technical financial knowledge or understanding of changes to markets, legislation and investment products.

3. Balance structured and unstructured learning activities

Industry bodies such as the FCA and CII will typically require members to complete a minimum of 35 hours of continuous professional development per year, with 21 hours dedicated to structured CPD activity.

Structured CPD is the undertaking of any formal learning activity designed to meet a specific development need. Structured learning activities include but are not limited to:

  • Studying for and sitting an examination

  • Participating in seminars (web based or in person)

  • Lectures

  • Conferences

  • Workshops

  • Courses

  • E-learning

Unstructured CPD is any activity an individual considers has met a learning objective, but has not been specially undertaken for this purpose. This might include reading a trade publication which happens to include a technical article on a topic for which you have a development need.

You need to be mindful of this when submitting your annual record for evaluation.

4. It's not just about the hours

If you’ve spent 60 hours studying for one exam, you may have in theory exceeded the minimum CPD hour count per year set by professional bodies such as the CII. However, will one single exam subject cover your learning and development needs?

When logging your CPD activities for year-end submission, you need to continuously reflect and ask yourself whether the hours you have put in have truly addressed your specific development needs.

5. Thoroughly reflect before submitting your record for assessment

Reflection is the most important part of CPD reporting since it makes you think of the value of your work for yourself, your colleagues, clients, company and the wider community. If reflection is missing, then CPD becomes less beneficial and meaningful as a tool. Before you submit your record, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did I get out of this?

  • What did I learn?

  • How did I learn it?

  • How will I apply it in practice?

  • What is the resulting change?

  • Does this flag up any additional development which would be helpful for me to undertake?

  • What benefits will it have for my clients and/or your service?

  • How will this help me prepare for a new role?

This is the time for you to harness the value of what you have learned by bridging the gap between theory and practice. Getting this section of CPD writing correct is a key element of professionalism and successful career management.

Are you looking for a new career to continue your professional development?

Financial Advisors who regularly record continuous professional development and are good at reflecting what they have learned tend to soar up the career ladder. Are you undertaking CPD with a specific career objective in mind, such as finding a new job? Search Financial Services can help you address this and appoint you to roles best suited to your objectives. Contact us to find out more, or apply to our financial services jobs below.

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