Ian Simons explains how the Professional Map and Future Me are aimed at helping financial planning professionals develop the skills and knowledge to thrive in their careers
The Professional Map is a new competency framework for the personal finance profession – covering not just technical knowledge but skills and behaviours expected of a professional now and in the future.
The Professional Map will benefit advisers by giving them a sector-wide standard of professional competence, informed by the market and aligned with regulatory and ethical standards, so everyone can see what good looks like and how to get there.
It will help members to:
- Self-assess their existing competencies.
- Identify career future pathways.
- Prepare for appraisals and development plans.
- Find relevant learning solutions to fill skills gaps.
It will also enable employers to optimise the employee lifecycle by:
- Developing standardised job specifications.
- Designing competency-based interviews and evaluation.
- Prioritising organisational skills development plans.
Alasdair Walker, Chartered financial planner and managing director of Handford Aitkenhead & Walker, says: “The Professional Map stands to help practitioners, aspiring practitioners, recruiters and trainers understand the wider set of skills needed to develop careers in financial planning, in addition to technical knowledge.”
For the first time, it combines technical expertise expectations with behaviours and skills enablers expected across the profession, with outcome statements relevant to each stage of a practitioner’s career.
The PFS and Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) will use the map to prioritise CPD relevant to members’ career stages, together with qualification and training content, so members should be able to easily identify relevant learning to fill any gaps or refresh existing knowledge.
“The Professional Map will become the ‘golden thread’ in what the CII offers – providing a common set of competencies that will enable alignment between professional standards and lifelong learning – delivered through world-class learning content, qualifications and membership,” says Gill White, chief customer officer of the CII.
The Professional Map was developed with the input of more than 200 technical and regulatory experts, learning and development and HR professionals, senior leaders and international stakeholders, via interviews, technical reviews and focus groups
Phil Greenwood, head of technical support at wealth management firm Courtiers, says: “The CII’s Professional Map supports and builds on what we are trying to achieve, beyond business needs and personal development. It clearly sets out the strategic intention of the sector in a way we can easily align with and communicate across our people.
“We rightly put a lot of value in qualifications, however being a member of our profession should go beyond this. By covering broader skills and abilities, the Professional Map provides clarity on the expectations for the industry and those working within it. We envisage employees wanting to engage and understand more through this framework, with a desire to put valuable new knowledge into practice.”
The CII has also launched FutureMe – a career development hub, providing tools and content specifically tailored to helping members progress their professional aspirations – whether that is a promotion or new career path.
The interactive platform hosts more than 5,000 videos, 800 careers e-learning bites, 14 personality assessments, a CV builder, an interview simulator and 300 business and IT skills courses, all focused on tackling career development issues.
The CII has built FutureMe in response to member demand for more support in planning and progressing careers, recognising the importance of transferrable skills and tools in addition to CPD and technical knowledge. The Education and Training Trust charity funded the development of the platform, in support of its aims to advance the education and training of those either currently employed in the profession or seeking to join.
FutureMe should give new entrants or those returning to work after a career break a simple route map to set them on the right direction to a rewarding career in personal finance.
Sarah Elson, Chartered financial planner at Berry & Oak and Fellow of the PFS, says: “The PFS FutureMe careers tool is a great way of being able to bring new thinking to the way we provide careers information, advice and guidance. The FutureMe tool has a key role to play in helping anyone to prepare for their future career or next move, providing individuals with information and guidance that gives them the confidence to make an informed decision about their career path.”
Ms Elson adds: “The platform contains some great tools to help build a CV, write a cover letter and prepare for interviews, as well as tools to improve IT skills and assessments to help understand learning styles and strengths. I was very impressed by the huge range of information and resources on the site and even managed to take advantage of the ‘elevator pitch’ tool myself.”
The Professional Map will be launched in Summer 2022.
Ian Simons is customer director of the CII