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Singapore's FAIR: A New Approach To Continuous Professional Development

Chris Hamblin

18 April 2016

In the UK, financial advisors have to complete 35 hours' worth of "continuous professional development" yearly, but the content of this is not policed or dictated by the regulators. According to Singapore's latest proposals, however, regulators in the city-state are planning to mandate content in a world first.

The consultative process has closed for the latest proposals. Consultations in Singapore, moreover, are far more perfunctory than in the UK and are thought of as an alert to the regulated community about what is coming rather than a genuine attempt to ascertain people's thoughts.

The  originally wanted to bring the rule into force on 31 December last year, but has now put the date back to 31 December 2016. It has said that four of the 30 hours must be spent on ethics. The Institute of Banking and Finance will accredit the trainer and assess the training. No form of "distance learning" is permissible. Another eight hours has to be spent on rules and regulations. This, too, is policed by the IBF and is open to any law firm or other trainer. The remaining 18 hours can be taken up by anything and need not be approved by the IBF.

This publication spoke to Andrew Glover, managing director of the International Compliance Training Academy in Singapore, the only provider of training accredited under IBF standards.

"The application to train is very complicated - you have to submit your training material and map it to Singapore standards, which are very detailed. It took us a year of writing and research when it was approved in 2006 and we had to do it again in 2014 with a whole new set of standards. We're writing the new courses now," said Glover.

On an IBF accredited course, according to Glover, the Singaporean Government will refund 70 per cent of the advisor's costs as long as he or she passes the assessment. Such a course could be a three-and-a-half hour examination or a 3,500 word assignment.