Step 1 - Registration
Before you can start the application process you will need to create an online account.
Step 2 - Start the application
The online application form has five sections. You can complete these in any order, and can part-complete and save them so you can return to them later. There is no set timescale for this process, and how long it takes will vary depending on each candidate, and your level of preparedness.
- General information about you and your firm: This includes information such as your contact details, FCA number, a description of your firm, and details of the overall percentage business mix for both you and your firm.
- Standard One – Technical Knowledge: You will need to list and evidence your Statement of Professional Standing (SPS), competent status, and your financial, long-term care and equity release qualifications.
- Standard Two – Work within a Supportive Environment: You will need to answer four questions about how your firm supports you in keeping your later life knowledge up to date, including giving some examples of resources provided by your firm.
- Standard Three – Maintenance of Competence: You will need to upload your Continuing Professional Development (CDP) record, highlighting those which relate to later life advice, and also select an item to be discussed at the face to face assessment.
- Standard Four - Application of Knowledge and Soft Skills: You will need to upload two client suitability reports.
Step 3 - Booking an assessment date
At any point during the completion of your application you can book an assessment date. We recommend that you do this as soon as possible to give you a submission date to then work towards. The submission date is usually around 6-8 weeks before the assessment dates. We offer five sets of assessment dates each year around the UK. View the assessment dates and locations available.
Step 4 - Complete and submit application
Your application must be completed and submitted by the submission deadline. Some information, such as your CPD, can only be uploaded in the month before the submission date, so that it is as up to date as possible.
Step 5 - Application review
Once your application has been submitted, it will be subject to an administrative review. This review will ensure that all the required documentation has been provided and if there are any issues we will contact you.
Step 6 - Assessment confirmation details
Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive confirmation of the date, time and location of your assessment – this is usually sent within 2-3 weeks of the submission date. Fourteen days before your assessment date you will receive the client case study scenario. This allows you time to prepare, just as you would before visiting a prospective client.
Step 7 - Assessment
The assessment is a one-to-one interview with an independent auditor. It will take approximately 90 minutes, and will be split into two sections, each lasting around 45 minutes.
- Section 1 - Audit of Evidence: The first half is the verification of submitted evidence, such as your qualifications and CPD. You will need to bring original documents or certified copies of your qualifications, so that these can be verified. You will also be told of any additional documentation to bring, such as extra CPD items and examples of your supportive environment that have been selected by the auditor for discussion.
- Section 2 - Work Based Assessment: The second half will consist of a VIVA, conversation and questions around an older client scenario. This aims to evidence how you apply your older client advice skills, knowledge and experience. You will need to explain things as though you are speaking to the client and often other family members, using a tone and language as appropriate. This part of the assessment is recorded (audio only).
Step 8 - Auditors report
After the assessment, the auditor will prepare a written report regarding your online submission and performance during the assessment. This report will include observations and comments on all four standards including the application of soft skills and knowledge.
Step 9 - The accreditation panel
Around 4-6 weeks after the assessments, each application will be reviewed by the Accreditation Panel.
The panel is made up of experts from a variety of backgrounds within the later life sector, including legal, training and education, product providers and practitioners. As you would expect it operates within a strong governance framework and each panel member will declare any conflicts of interest and withdraw from any discussion where this is the case.
Step 10 - Results
The result will be emailed to you within 14 working days of the panel date. The following outcomes are possible:
- Pass - the candidate has fully met the standards of the accreditation.
- Pass with Condition - the candidate has substantially met the standards of the accreditation subject to some additional CPD work being done, usually within 3 months.
- Deferred Decision - the panel feels unable to make a decision without further information, and will ask you to do some additional work to be reviewed at the next panel meeting.
- Fail - the candidate has failed to meet the standard of the accreditation either through specific knowledge failings which are considered mandatory for accreditation or through cumulative failings. If you are not awarded the accreditation, you will be given feedback that will help you decide what your next steps are. You will have an opportunity to re-sit the assessment, subject to a further fee.