Building Healthy Cultures through Competence, Capability and Professionalism

The FCA has a single strategic objective, namely ‘that the relevant markets function well.’ To achieve this, it also has three operational objectives, one of which is to ‘protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system.’

Building trust and integrity in financial services and reducing harm to consumers or the reputation of the industry is therefore an important part of the regulator’s work and, as such, the reduction of harm should also be embedded within the culture of regulated firms.

The competence and capability of staff working in insurance distribution is a crucial element in maintaining confidence in the sector. The culture of firms and those who work within them naturally impact on the approach to continuing professional development (CPD). Firms and individuals who embrace CPD are playing their part in promoting professionalism and increasing confidence in financial services.

The regulator requires that all relevant financial services staff must undertake and record a minimum of 15 hours’ CPD across eight core competencies. The idea behind this is that all staff involved in insurance distribution can demonstrate the minimum necessary knowledge to carry out their roles, thereby increasing customer confidence. If staff do not achieve this, then your customers (and your firm) will be at risk of harm.

Firms and individuals should keep CPD records up-to-date and conduct CPD effectively by setting relevant learning objectives and taking the time to reflect on what has been learnt and how this knowledge can be applied in practice.

Whilst the minimum number of hours must be put in (namely, the regulatory requirement of 15 hours or 35 hours for CII members), a diligent professional will likely go further. Being a member of a profession means that you should want to expand and develop your understanding and knowledge, whether this be through structured face-to-face training, qualifications, e-learning or unstructured reading.

It should not simply be about repeating the same training year in, year out, it should also involve identifying and reflecting on new developments within the industry, building new skills and knowledge, and being cognisant of the changing social, economic, cultural and political landscape that the industry operates within.

By taking a health approach to CPD, individuals and firms are well placed to perform well, providing a valued service to their clients, and contribute to the reduction of harm within the market.

If you need advice on developing an effective Training and Competence Plan or if you want to know more about the e-learning and training solutions we can offer, please contact your RWA Business Manager or email

About the author

Nathan is a member of the senior management team at RWA and manages the company’s e-learning, content and professional standards department. He joined RWA as a content writer in 2016, on successfully completing his PhD. Nathan previously worked in the private, public and charitable sectors and has a broad range of experience, including research and analysis, project delivery, corporate governance, and team leadership.

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