The advantages of industry qualifications: how Financial Services qualifications can benefit your organisation

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Encouraging your staff to take qualifications in Financial Services can benefit their productivity, performance and work satisfaction: here's what you need to know.

Within an organisation, the key to building a successful business team lies not only in hiring people who are bright and ambitious, but who want to learn, regardless of how high they might climb on the career ladder.

In a market as rapidly evolving as Financial Services, the impetus to continue to upskill your staff is more compelling than ever. Having qualifications in Financial Services offers a variety of benefits, and this option is fast becoming popular within the sector, with courses available covering everything from upcoming legislative changes to advances in technology. Flexible, easy to fit in with a working schedule, and most of all, useful, there’s no excuse for not making the most of what these qualifications have to offer, and incentivising your staff to do the same.

Associate Consultant Shelley Hobson at IDEX Consulting talks about how encouraging your staff to take industry qualifications can help boost your firm.

What kinds of courses are there in the market, and which would you recommend?

Though there are a lot of professional bodies in the Financial Services market offering qualifications, the two most popular are the Charted Institute of Insurance (CII), which is aimed at people wanting to learn more about how to provide financial advice, such as Paraplanners, Business Development Managers and Advisors, and the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), which is aimed more towards people within the Investment sector, such as Investment Managers or Analysts.

Though it’s true that the courses are open to people at all stages, many people start them once they have a few years’ experience within the industry, when they have developed a thorough understanding of the market. Your staff can begin with taking modules which they can eventually build up to a Certificate, a Diploma and even an Advanced Diploma- which gives them the same status as a university degree.

What advantages can they give your business?

Additional qualifications will often help to further propel your employees’ careers and increase their clout within the company. While achieving a Diploma can cost upwards of £2,000, many organisations incentivise their staff to sit these qualifications by offering to fund some or all of their associated costs. The value a qualified Financial Services professional adds to your business should not be underestimated, so consider how you can support your team in this endeavour.

These courses offer a wide range of modules and allow your employees to focus on one particular subject, as a result, you can align the course to your business’ needs. These professional bodies bring out new modules that are designed to update you on the latest industry developments and gives your employees the opportunity to refresh their skills. The courses also offer flexible study mode such as online learning, educational exhibitions and short courses, which are all viable ways of studying, as well as half-day workshops where your employees can both learn and network with industry peers.

Why should you encourage your staff to take professional qualifications?

Encouraging your staff to develop their skills with these qualifications ensures you have a more knowledgeable team, who are better prepared to excel at their jobs, and who will be able to take on more responsibilities as they continue to learn. By encouraging your employees to take these courses, you’ll be helping them to take control of their careers, which will in turn increase employee satisfaction and retention; Richard Branson once said “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to”. There is a misconception in the industry that studying will result in staff being ‘out of office’ over certain periods of time, however with the advent of the internet it’s become easier than ever to develop a flexible working and studying schedule which suits everybody.   Most companies will even allow their employees one day per module, to sit the exam.

It’s also very easy to support your employees when it comes to continuing their professional development: indeed, CISI runs a Continuing Professional Development scheme, where senior executives can sign up and gain access- both for themselves and their staff- to a range of courses designed to update them on over 70 specific industry topics, covering topics like recently-passed major pieces of regulation and the effect they have on the market. As the courses can be done by everybody from starters to senior-level employees, everyone within your organisation can benefit from such training, even if they’ve been in the company for several years.

Would you recommend continuing to take these courses over the course of your career?

Of course. The most driven people will continue taking these qualifications throughout their working lives, at all stages of their career. Whilst it’s vital to encourage your employees to carry on studying and upskilling to boost morale and help them to improve their job performance, everybody in the organisation can benefit from these courses, even those in senior positions. Though they already have several years’ experience within the Financial Services market, they can also broaden their knowledge of a range of sectors relevant to them, especially as many senior roles will incorporate elements of both the financial advice-focused CISI courses, and the investment-focused CII courses.

Continuing your studies in Financial Services can benefit both you and your staff. By providing the latest market insights and giving your staff a chance to learn and take on more responsibility, doing these courses can both improve employee satisfaction and increase their productivity. It’s never too late to start building on your experience, and these courses provide the perfect opportunity to do so.

At IDEX, we take pride in offering open, honest insight into the career options ahead of you, as well as access to exclusive career opportunities for the best people in Financial Services. Find out about the jobs we offer here, or contact us here.

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