In case you haven’t seen it, Financial Adviser published an article yesterday about the CII’s recent policy changes relating to their study and exam options.

Here’s a link to the article: https://www.ftadviser.com/your-industry/2018/01/17/cii-under-fire-for-changes-to-exam-package/?page=1

As many of you will be aware, BTS have been commenting on the CII exam changes and the introduction of compulsory exam packages, which we feel are bad news for consumer choice and, ultimately, results and professional standards.

As you can see in the article, the CII have responded.

This is the first time most of us have seen anything in print in relation to the rationale behind these changes, so what do we think…?

  • “A direct response to changing trends and preferences, with the vast majority preferring an inclusive package.”

    This is surprising, as the ‘vast majority’ of the views that have been shared with us (via email or discussions) do not prefer this approach. Look at the comments that have been made after our LinkedIn posts, or  view the blog posts under the Financial Adviser article and also on Brand Training’s blog at https://brandft.co.uk/cii-exams-major-changes-and-how-they-affect-you/

If anyone from the CII is reading this, could we ask that you publish the data (that you must have, to be able to use the term ‘vast majority’) that supports this statement?

If such evidence exists, this would mean that these changes have been introduced on the back of consultation with CII members, which would in line with the CII Charter, Code of Ethics and Principles. The data would help convince the market that this has been the case.

  • "There is no logical reason why this enhancement to lowering the cost should result in lower pass rates, as the component parts and the content have not been changed.;

    Whist we would question the use of the term ‘enhancement’, this statement would be valid if it were the case that existing pass rates were based on students using only the CII learning materials.

    The packaged approach puts learners in a position where they have to seriously consider the viability of using non-CII materials. Forcing all students to use CII materials, which are widely viewed as reasonable technical guides but less that universally ideal learning tools, will not help pass-rates, understanding or professional standards.

    ‘Not changing the component parts’ is, in itself, a worry. If no monies have been spent, nor efforts made to improve the CII study guides, they will continue to fail to meet the learning needs of their intended audiences.

  • "Our intent is to offer greater value to our members through a mechanism better aligned to modern revision and exam techniques.”

    It’s hard to see the ‘greater value’ here. Value is ‘the importance or usefulness of a thing’. If learners do not wish to purchase a component part of the CII’s package, how is there value in their being forced to buy it?

  • “We should also point out that our fellow professional bodies already have similar systems in place and we, like them, believe this is the way forward."

    We fail to see how an argument of ‘other people are doing it’ makes an action ethical. The CII have a Royal Charter, a Code of Ethics and Professional Standards, and should therefore be considering their learner needs, regardless of the actions of other professional bodies.

One positive outcome, whether we agree with it or not, is that the CII are starting to publish their rationale for the changes – much better than the ‘quieter’ way in which the changes were made.

As always, please let us have your thoughts on the above.