The new qualification is said by SJP to be “designed to help them develop a detailed and holistic understanding of vulnerable customers, their needs, and how to address these”.
The Level 6 (Advanced) qualification is being offered as part of the programme towards Chartered.
St James’s Place has been working with the CII to develop the qualification over the last two years.
SJP says the new qualification will enable candidates to critically evaluate the complex Financial Planning needs of “a wide range of vulnerable client scenarios and develop suitable solutions”.
By training candidates to consider both the financial and emotional side of personal financial situations, St James’s Place hopes to help its community in supporting vulnerable clients.
The key areas covered by this qualification are:
• specialist knowledge of the issues affecting the provision of financial advice to vulnerable clients;
• analysis of vulnerable clients’ needs in respect of investments, pensions and protection;
• the setting and oversight of systems and controls that enable a St. James’s Place practice to deliver fair outcomes to vulnerable customers; and
• key elements and implementation of a corporate responsibility policy and establishing an appropriate business strategy including partnering arrangements with charities and others.
Edward Grant, past president of the Personal Finance Society and divisional director responsible for professional development at St James's Place, said: “We’re very proud to be able to offer this new qualification to our partners and firmly believe that ensuring vulnerable clients have access to the highest levels of knowledge and expertise available will generate a positive impact on client experience and quality of service overall.
“We have already had significant interest in the qualification from across the partnership and hope this will increase now it has officially launched.
“At St James’s Place, we are committed to ensuring our partners have access to quality training, helping to further enhance the services provided to clients and drive higher professional standards across the industry.”
The new qualification is assessment based and is the second exclusive level 6 qualification to help St James’s Place Partners and advisers to achieve Chartered status.
With 21% of its Partnership having achieved Chartered status already, St. James’s Place revealed it has committed to increasing the figure to 25% by 2020.
The CII will be piloting the assessment with St James’s Place over the next two years and it will be worth 30 Advanced Diploma credits.