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Saturday, December 1, 2012
Exams and cramming

Just over two-thirds of financial service representatives who have written the Financial Service Board (FSB) regulatory exams have passed. The most recent figures released by the FSB, which has twice extended the deadline for passing the exams over the last 12 months, reveal that there are 15 000 brokers who still have to pass the exams by the final date of 31st March 2013 or face losing their jobs.

In a statement issued in September 2012, the FSB said after “considering all facts”, it had decided another extension would be “appropriate”. The board cited “incorrect examination techniques” as a factor contributing to the high failure rate amongst candidates and said it would be holding workshops to assist them in learning the material they need to write the exams successfully.
“There’s no simple explanation as to why there is such a high failure rate amongst brokers who take the regulatory exams. It is most likely due to a number of factors,” says Kirsty Chadwick, MD of The Training Room Online, which has held over 1 500 workshops for many of South Africa’s largest financial service providers.
“The study material includes complex legal jargon that can take time to understand. Brokers who work full time often underestimate how long they need to take to study for the exams. In addition they may lack support from employers who don’t understand the amount of time that needs to be invested in studying for the exams either.”
The FSB will be holding its workshops, based on “problem areas” identified from analyses of past students’ papers, in conjunction with INSETA. These areas include using time wisely and understanding the structure of the questions.
“For the FSB’s training to be effective,” Chadwick asserts, “it needs to break the required information down into manageable, bite-sized chunks that are learnt over a reasonable period of time. Last-minute cramming is also one reason so many people are failing. The right kind of training is vitally important and could have an impact on the industry as a whole.”
Trade union Solidarity has issued a memorandum to the FSB calling for a year-long moratorium on the regulatory exams, stating that thousands of financial advisors could lose their jobs by the end of March 2013 if they don’t write it successfully.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:25.12 1st December, 2012
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