Seven tips to getting the best value from CPD

Whatever your financial specialisms, you have a responsibility to complete a minimum amount of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every year.

The Financial Conduct Authority says:

“Advisers will need to complete a minimum of 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) each year for retail investment activities, of which 21 hours should be structured. If you carry out other retail activities, such as mortgage advice or managing funds, you will need to carry out CPD for that activity as well.”

Structured CPD activities include courses, seminars, e-learning, workshops and lectures. Unstructured CPD includes undertaking research related to your role as an adviser, reading, or participating in coaching or mentoring sessions.

To get the most out of CPD, it’s important to see it as an opportunity to improve your knowledge and skills rather than something that has to be done.

Darren Smith, Head of Financial Adviser Schools, says: “Don’t think of CPD as something where you tick-box the number of hours. Advisers should be thinking about how it will enhance how they give advice to clients.”

If you’re fed up with attending provider events where the focus is about them selling to you and not about your personal development, here are seven ways you can get more value from your CPD.

1. Record CPD in a timely way

If you undertake useful CPD, it’s important to record this straight away.

Recording CPD regularly means you know exactly how much development you have undertaken and how much more you need to do. It also demonstrates that you are meeting your CPD obligations when the compliance team come calling.

The FCA say that: “CPD is not a collection of attendance certificates – we expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have developed your knowledge and skills as a result.”

Recording your CPD in a timely fashion means you can not only evidence the CPD you undertook, but also what your learning objectives were and exactly how you developed your skills and/or knowledge.

Apps such as Trailblazer let you easily record CPD as soon as you complete it. You can even take a photo of CPD attendance and upload it to the app.

2. Don’t just go to provider events

Attending provider events might be easy and hassle-free, but are you developing your knowledge and skills in a meaningful way?

There are lots of other events that you can consider which will genuinely help you in your day-to-day work. Examples are:

  • Back2Y – this one-day conference in September at the ICC in Birmingham offers an inspiring day of lifestyle financial planning. You’ll learn practical and proven methods to help you turn your clients into ambassadors for your business
  • NextGen planners conference – designed by planners, for planners, the next conference is in Manchester in October and focuses on ‘influence’. How can you grow and develop the influence you have on clients?
  • Humans under Management – this show is next in London in December and focuses on developing behavioural financial advice practices. The aim of the programme is to ‘promote activities that ensure clients behave their way to wealth’.

3. Learn from peers

Attending events and conferences gives you loads of opportunity to hear from expert speakers and professionals.

However, you can just as easily pick up useful knowledge and skills by engaging with peers at these events. Chatting to other advisers and planners can help you to pick up tips and hints which you can apply back in the workplace. Don’t be afraid to get chatting!

4. Find useful content on social media

If you’re struggling to find good quality CPD material online, social media is a great place to start.

For example, the Facebook LifeTalk community is where financial advice professionals network, share best practice, get answers to technical questions and exchange ideas.

With useful videos and other content, it’s a great place to get help and support – and to share the benefit of your knowledge and expertise with others.

5. Study for further qualifications

One way of making your CPD mean something for your career is to study for additional qualifications.

For example, if you have more than five years’ experience you might want to consider studying for the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning. Or, you could undertake CPD sessions with the Society of Later Life Advisers and sit a long-term care exam.

As well as counting towards your CPD target, studying is a good way of helping you to Chartered status or beyond. Find a topic that you’re interested in and that’s relevant to your work and your clients and become an expert in that field.

6. Listen to podcasts

If you commute to work every morning, or you’re just looking for an easy way to keep yourself up to date and learn new skills, a podcast is an easy way to complete unstructured CPD.

Podcasts to consider include:

7. Host a CPD session at your regular team meetings

An innovative way that you can share best practice and improve your skills is to host a CPD session at your regular team meetings.

You can cover a broad range of subjects and it allows you and your colleague to chat about topics which may not be your day-to-day specialisms.

Want a flexible, secure compliance management system where you can easily record and track your CPD? Get in touch. Email or complete our contact form.