Keeping up to date with market knowledge is crucial to stay onside with the regulator. So, taking note of what key players in the industry are saying is important.
For practitioners and support and supervisory staff in our industry, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is about regular learning and study that is planned, recorded, timed and evaluated.
If you are a member of a professional body with CPD requirements, then there will be certain rules regarding the quality and nature of study material and the way in which it is recorded.
This usually means recording on your individual training file what the learning was, who provided it and when.
It might be structured, such as a course, a learning programme or exam study. But it can be unstructured. This form of study encompasses reading the trade press, technical material or taking part in activities to support your professional body.
Some CPD requirements are points related and others require a time value to be allocated.
For example, it might take one hour to read Insurance Times each week but perhaps only half an hour was devoted to learning something. The rule is to be honest with yourself and record the time that is relevant.
Always take time to reflect on what was gained from the activity. This is useful information for anyone else considering the same activity.
At a recent industry event, I had the pleasure of listening to several leading figures address the audience on key regulatory topics and issues that will impact upon the insurance profession.
As each speaker concluded their address, I took from my pocket my little CPD notebook and made a few bullet point notes of what they had to say.
Some may consider me to be a CPD ‘anorak’ and they may well be right. But any practitioner should have a procedure that if they hear a key industry figure speaking or see an article quoting them or written by them, they make a note of anything important they say and perhaps circulate it to colleagues.
In this case, the point is two-fold; one is that I learned something new from this event and my notes and the act of circulation (or a phone call) to colleagues and evidence of a CPD activity; and two, a key requirement of maintenance of competence is keeping up to date with market activity and thinking. And frankly, there is no better way to do this than to listen to key figures when they have a message.
Identifying key people
A difficulty is that, unless you have an A-list of speakers, you can be up to your neck in notes and newspaper cuttings. On the other hand, if you do nothing one has to ask whether simply acting on FCA edicts and circulars is enough to ‘keep up to date’.
Anything the regulator says is something to study and store and circulate as relevant, but, in addition, you should consider identifying key people who have a role in governing, managing or affecting market practice.
An exercise you may wish to consider is to construct an A-list that you can include as part of your T&C scheme.
Rather than list specific names here are a few examples for you:
- President, CII
- Director General, CII
- Chief Executives, BIBA
- Chief Executive, ABI
- The Financial Services Ombudsman
- Chief Executives of the major insurers you do major business with
- Chairman, Lloyd’s of London
I will leave you to put names to them and to add those that relate specifically to your own business.
What you will find is that these individuals do not say much publicly but what they do say is important and, in some way, likely to affect the way you work.
One other great advantage is that you can choose CPD for you and your staff whenever these individuals are speaking. You will find that many of them regularly make presentations at inexpensive events around the country.
If you look at the list above you can reckon that each will speak at least ten times in public each year and that is a substantial source of unstructured CDP activity for a large number of staff.
A key requirement of maintenance of competence is keeping up to date with market activity and thinking
Do not get the idea that listening to anyone who is not on the list is barred (far from it), but the FCA does make specific reference to keeping up to date with market changes. Listening to, or reading about, what these individuals have to say is often firm evidence that you and your staff are doing just that.