The refreshment of investment

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The Independent Online
In recent years, various financial scandals have given the securities and investment industry an unenviable image. Never mind that such events have been limited in scope and number, they have lingered in the minds of the public. The Securities Institute, which was established in 1992 with a commitment to promoting the highest standards in the industry, is seeking to counter this impression with the launch of a continuing professional development (CPD) programme of the type that has long been familiar in the law, accountancy and elsewhere.

As one member of the investment community said: "CPD has been a hot subject in the Stock Exchange fraternity for a long time as a result of regulatory pressures, and a CPD scheme for the industry is long overdue."

The voluntary scheme, announced last month, aims to cater for the diverse nature of the industry and fulfil the various needs of individuals within it. Computer software has been developed with the assistance of specialist consultants ad satis, and there is a practical, step-by-step approach to training and development which allows individuals to devise a programme for achieving the targets.

The development of the package followed a two-year research and consultation process across the industry. This included product testing with such organisations as the Stock Exchange and leading banks as well as large and small stockbrokers and investment houses.

Tim Nicholson, chief executive of the Securities Institute, said that, as well as carrying out research within the industry, the organisation looked at other CPD schemes. "It became clear that we needed to create our own programme structured to meet the unique needs of the securities industry, which draws on the successful aspects of other schemes and produces a framework for training activity which can be adapted for both large and small companies," he added.

The scheme has two levels. The first is aimed at individuals wishing to update their knowledge of technical market practice and regulatory issues, while the second requires extra professional competence. Though the programme is based on outcomes rather than hours put in, it is expected that the first level will require at least 15 hours of dedicated effort in any one year while the second will take a total of about 35 hours.

Once the training has been completed, the relevant information can be stored on disc for validation, first by a mentor or manager in their company and then by the Securities Institute for certification. The result, points out Mr Nicholson, is "a considerable breakthrough in reducing the paperwork often associated with other CPD schemes"n

Roger Trapp

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