A week has gone by since the CII decision to give no choice to its students in the exam package purchases for RO/JO and AF exams.

Looking at the details (below) from the CII’s published Global Cooperation Strategy…

As the premier professional body for the insurance and financial planning professions, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) promotes higher standards of integrity, technical competence and business capability.

Our Royal Charter requires us: "to secure and justify the confidence of the public" in our members and in the insurance and financial services sector. The CII works hard to maintain public confidence and trust in the financial services market. We believe this will be achieved by creating a genuine global profession where the best interests of the consumer are to the fore, where ongoing learning and expertise are cherished, and where the highest standards of ethical behaviour are embraced.

… this seems at odds with the recent actions, which do more to eliminate competition and the green shoots of alternative and fresh thinking.

We would respectfully suggest that ‘securing and justifying the confidence of the public’ is not going well in 2018, and don’t get us started on ‘promoting higher standards of integrity’, ‘best interests of the consumer to the fore’ and ‘embracing the highest standards of ethical behaviour’. The CII appears to have a different interpretation of these phrases from BTS.

This leads us to wonder how the Privy Council would view these changes in relation to the Royal Charter they granted the CII back in 1912?

So, what about the CII’s own Code of Ethics?

Well a couple stand out as worthy of a mention here.

  1. Act with the highest ethical standards and integrity
  2. Act in the best interests of each client

What are your thoughts with how well the CII are doing with these two?

BTS know what we think….

Has anything changed in the last week?

Well, BTS have received huge volumes of feedback from clients expressing how unhappy individuals and companies are with these changes. Phrases and words being used include:

  • Anti-competitive
  • Breath-taking arrogance
  • No account of student learning styles
  • Making it harder to become professionally qualified (this reference was to how poorly CII study guides are rated by some users)
  • One size does not fit all
  • Unbelievable!
  • Exam pass rates will be even worse (and they are pretty bad already)
  • Ridiculous just forked out £265 for AFI when all I wanted was the £130 exam sitting
  • A commercial move rather than a learner-focused decision

CII Website changes that BTS have noticed

  • The CII website has been in a state of change.
  • Initially packages were available for purchase on the website for all the financial planning exams.
  • At the weekend, the CII website was down citing ‘technical difficulties’ and now it is back, and these packages can only be booked currently by calling the CII direct.
  • Learners still have zero choice. They must pay for both the CII study guide plus an exam for a combined packed price.

What do BTS suggest as a next step?

The feedback we have seen has shown us how poorly these changes have been received.

The market (or at least the players who have realised that these changes have taken place) are telling us that that this is a huge backward step by the CII.

Nothing heard to date can, in any way, justify these changes or be shown to improve the standards the rest of us are working so hard, together, to achieve.

So, we suggest that if you feel strongly about this you tell the CII via a formal complaint to the current CEO: a lady called Sian Fisher.

The CII complaints process states:

‘We are 100% committed to delivering a first-class service to our clients.

We respect diversity and strive in all our activities to take account of and reflect the interests of all the people we serve.

So, if you are unhappy with any aspect of our service, we would welcome your comments’.

BTS are suggesting that if you are not happy, as so many of you are telling us, that you take this bull by the horns and complain en-masse.

We intend to put in a formal complaint direct to Sian Fisher herself. We suggest as many of you as possible do the same. If we, collectively, are as unhappy with these decisions as we are hearing, we must, collectively, act. Otherwise, this policy will not be changed.

Silence here will be viewed as acquiescence.

Please help us get this policy changed back to one where we had some choice, by voicing your complaint to the CII. You can email/write in to:

Sian.fisher@cii.co.uk

Sian Fisher – ACII Chief Executive Officer, The Chartered Insurance Institute, 20 Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HY.

You must let the CII know if you are unhappy with these policy changes.