FPQS: A single point of reference for training programme design in FSI

The Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA) has launched its Finance Professional Qualifications Structure (FPQS), a single streamlined qualifications structure that the industry can refer to when they design training programmes for finance professionals.

Because of the way it is structured – the types and range of knowledge that learners are expected to acquire are tiered into 6 different levels – it also becomes a mechanism to classify professional qualifications in the financial services industry (FSI) across four sectors – Banking, Capital Market, Insurance, Financial Planning and Wealth management.

So for example, a training provider would be able to offer a professional in retail banking, a learning programme about Credit, with the FPQS document as the main point of reference.

This ensures uniformity and consistency across all training programmes that are developed based upon the FPQS.

CEO of FAA, Khairul Nizam said, “The FPQS was developed through group efforts with a panel of industry experts and practitioners from different financial sectors.”

Significantly, Khairul pointed out that the FPQS is internationally benchmarked. This way it has potential to benefit many stakeholders in the FSI to design, develop and deliver recognised programmes for the industry.

These stakeholders include HR departments, universities and especially training providers.

More to come – mapping it the other way now

According to FAA CTO, Dr. Eddy Chong, “We want to cover all the critical areas in FSI learning, so that’s why we have the 4 broad areas – Banking, Insurance, Capital Market, Financial Planning and Wealth Management – after which we further detail the area of knowledge.

There are diverse programmes being offered in the market by many different training providers, Eddy observed. However, ensuring a minimum requirement that a qualification should fulfill, gives finance professionals more freedom in choosing which programmes to pursue.

Eddy added, “Especially when it comes to in-house requirements, some banks and insurance companies have their own ‘part of the story’ to cover’, so we allow some form of freedom there.”

Basically, it is up to the training provider’s discretion to add anything suitable on top of the minimum requirements set out by FPQS.

Eddy also observed that institutes of higher learning have their own programme standards developed by the MQA (Malaysian Qualifications Agency), but there hadn’t been any such uniformity for professionals, till the FPQS came along.

He added, “Next year, we are going to map every industry-relevant programme back to the FPQS.

“So, the mapping goes both ways now.”

Due to the ever evolving nature of short-duration programmes and fast-paced developments in the industry, this is expected to be a long-term effort. The FPQS itself was a year-long initiative.

The technology factor

FPQS Chairman and FAA Panel expert from the Securities Commission, Wan Abdul Rahim Kamil, said, “One of the things we have learnt is that technologies can be obsolete in a matter of months or few years, and the document would have to be revised again.”

He said, “Because development of Industry 4.0 (IR4.0) is so fast, we are talking about IR5.0 today. So, we are prepared for that.”

For instance with crowdfunding, imposing a requirement of 10 years experience isn’t practical, whereas three years experience is deemed to be the optimum. The outlook of the learning individual also has to be taken into consideration.

So, the FPQS knowledge reference document is future-proofed so it may meet future needs of the industry. Besides that, parameters had to take into account qualitative elements and not just the quantitative elements like the number of learning hours, or years of experience.