Gold Seal weighs in on broker education discussion

Mon, 25/05/2015

The Managing Director of Gold Seal, Sheila Baker, has added her company’s weight behind NIBA’s opposition of the proposal to impose a degree qualification as a minimum to provide personal advice in broking. Gold Seal has been providing education programs to hundreds of brokers every year since 2005.

In an open letter to the industry, she stated:

“This proposal will not address the impending education issues in the Broking industry. Rather, it is the content, the manner in which the competencies are used, and how it is delivered, that are at the core of the issue.”

The problem is not whether the level of education is at Diploma or Degree level. It is the way the prescribed competencies formulated by ASIC have been used as the only standard rather than the minimum standard.

Education providers have always been free to add content that enhances learning outcomes to ensure the education is actually useful to the Broker in everyday life. This has been Gold Seal’s philosophy from Day 1. The ASIC standards should be the base level of our education programs and be built on by listening to students, their employers and the broking industry to ensure content is current, relevant and best practice.

Let’s start selling the Diploma as an achievement in excellence rather than the ASIC minimum standard “tick the box” exercise it has become. Brokers need to understand that maintaining a minimalist approach to education produces people who are less equipped for success.

Ultimately, imposing a degree as a minimum standard will prove unpopular, and too expensive. We believe it would not be adopted as standard, with the result that fewer operators will provide personal advice. This will reduce professionalism in the industry, rather than promoting it, and will devalue the service that Brokers offer.

Making Diploma content relevant to every day practice must be an essential component of any new education product or service. Indications from our clients are that Brokers want education that turns out skilled practitioners. They complain that the gap between prescribed competencies and successful professional practice is vast. That’s a gap we need to fill.

Furthermore, Mr Booth has pointed out in his recent comments that “current educational standards are already met by NIBA and ANZIIF and that “about 1600 NIBA members would need to complete Block 2 of the NIBA College Diploma which costs $3000”. We would like to remind the broking industry that there are options to both of those venerable institutions, and having a look at other education providers, such as Gold Seal, might prove more cost effective. 

However, this issue transcends costs, and the matter of which education provider is used. It’s about providing quality education to the market which not only turns out skilled practitioners but also addresses industry trends and remains flexible enough to incorporate future needs.

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