FINSIA to boost professional standards

FINSIA will expand its activities across the financial services sector as it aims to deepen trust by raising standards of professionalism in the industry. FINSIA's professionalism strategy is supported by the recent partnership between the financial services professional body and the Chartered Banker Institute announced in May.

The Chartered Banker pathway supports practitioners at all levels - from the foundation level, right through to the Chartered Banker certification. 

“Having reached an agreement with the Chartered Banker, we have plans to deliver similar professional qualifications across the banking, finance and securities and investment industries," FINSIA CEO Chris Whitehead told AB+F

“Our initial focus is on the Professional Banking Certificate which will at a foundation level of knowledge for people who are new to the industry. Beyond that, we will also be supporting higher level professional qualifications in banking as people start to specialise in their careers.

“While we are an individual member based professional body, we do recognise that we need to work collaboratively with the industry to help deliver the benefits these globally recognised qualifications will bring to the sector,” Whitehead explained.

Key trends

FINSIA aims to deliver the courses over the 2018 calendar year. Rather than seeking to grow as a large educational business, Whitehead said FINSIA will instead connect with education providers and provide accreditation of education courses that will also consider key trends in the sector such as fintechs.

“We see ourselves as a connector; linking not just with industry and regulators but with education and research providers as well. It is a dynamic industry. We need to recognise the impact of trends such as the fintechs on the sector.”

While the initial focus is on the banking, finance and securities sectors, FINSIA’s professionalism strategy will also be rolled out across other parts of the financial services industry. 

“We plan to work with businesses such as the professional services firms and law firms in the next phase of the business strategy rollout. We see them as important stakeholders in financial services," said Whitehead.

The Chartered Banker Institute (CBI) has been leading financial professionalism in the UK and internationally since 1875. Giles Cuthbert, managing director of the CBI, said the institution was delighted to be working with FINSIA to offer opportunities to further the professionalism of the banking sector.  

“Chartered Banker is the international gold standard of banking qualifications, a status which is trusted by customers and fellow professionals alike," he told AB+F.

Core standards

The CBI recently agreed to work in partnership with FINSIA to offer qualifications in Australia and New Zealand, which lead to Chartered Banker status for FINSIA members. These qualifications take the core standard from CBIs qualification framework but are being adapted by FINSIA to ensure they suit the Australian industry.   

"We recognise that while core education standards must remain the same in any international qualification, it is critical that qualifications are appropriate for the country in which they are being taken,” Cuthbert said.

“FINSIA has a great many years' experience as a professional body, and we are delighted to be able to entrust Chartered Banker to such a renowned institution, with such a great heritage."

Cuthbert said the banking sector in the UK only started to recognise the importance of professional qualifications of its people following the run up to the global financial crisis. 

“We have seen a really significant change in the UK banking industry over the past 10 years. While there were regulator drivers, which required people working in banking to have core competencies, it is fair to say that the banks also pushed for professional banking qualifications for their staff,” Cuthbert said. 

He added, that the initiative will help support global professional standards in banking. 

“Our professional standards can be adopted by members across the world. Professional bodies like ourselves and FINSIA, who are independent are well-placed to improve on standards of competency through providing professional banking qualifications in the financial services sector.” 

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