Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of a highly supervisory approach to regulation. Often its a triumph of form over substance. We should aim for the maximum client benefit for the minimum cost - and to a certain extent what has been proposed aims for a cheaper regime than Australia, so this idea is not wholly absent from official thinking.
Yet the form over substance disaster is occurring. One day this will come back to bite us. An unnamed organisation was mocked in the mortgage magazine recently by the editor and an industry commentator for 'lender speed dating' - which carried some CPD credit - because all that could really be covered was "how much commission do you pay". You get CPD points for subscribing to a monthly DVD in another quarter - viewing it is optional. At another event a CPD point was used as a 'prize' for answering one question in a shout out session.
The cheerful cockney market approach of "roll up, roll up, get your lovely fresh CPD points here, get 'em while they're hot... I'm cutting my own throat, an hour's education credit available for just one right answer..." well. It's continuing, and I guess it's professional in a 'world's oldest profession' kind of way - but developmental - hardly. Let's face it. The sale of most financial products is not rocket science - an awful lot of this stuff is just not needed.
Requiring a number of CPD points may not be a great way to ensure adviser professionalism. Better use of existing remedies combined with a tougher disclosure regime - making sure certain things are covered in any presentation. These are more easily policed, objective, and cheaper.
Howver, if CPD is, like the weather, something that we cannot change - then companies should consider how to make the best of it.
First - make a commitment to real development. Be efficient with time by all means. Entertain, by all means. Learning does not have to be boring - but try to achieve real development. Consider a curriculum approach - make future sessions build on past sessions. Stake out some territory - become known for training excellence in a particular area of expertise. If you do serious training then you should insist that serious training is awarded more points than fluff and nonsense. Police bad training - because it devalues the currency of CPD points and undermines those that do it really well.