Much debate on new CE proposals

A resounding 100% of Canadian advisors believe that continuing education and professional development (CEPD) courses are important for creating positive client outcomes, according to a recent report from the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA).

Of the 347 Canadian advisors surveyed by Boston, Mass.-based CoreData Research on behalf of the IMCA earlier this year, 93% would go as far as to say CEPD courses are “very important,” the report says.

Almost half of advisors (46%) cited improving client service as their primary motivation when choosing which CEPD programs to pursue. These advisors hope to demonstrate advanced knowledge that goes beyond their client’s expectations, the report adds.

In addition, 73% of advisors believe that educational conferences are an “important to very important” part of CEPD. However, 57% of advisors said they can only reasonably attend one or two conferences a year, “indicating that the content of events is critical for advisors when making their educational choices,” the report says.

On the other hand, professional certifications and their related educational requirements were considered much more valuable to advisors. So much so that 95% of advisors ranked these certifications as “very important or important.”

“Canadian advisors understand that they cannot rest on their laurels to keep their businesses moving ahead and their clients happy,” says Asif Nasim, council member of IMCA Canada, in a statement.

“They must constantly refresh their knowledge, understand the latest tools and concepts available, and hold themselves to an ever-higher ethical standard in order to stand out from their competitors and improve client returns,” he adds.

Despite the demand for CEPD, advisors believe there’s much room for improvement. For example, 29% of advisors said they’re deterred by “stale, rehashed material,” the report says.

Furthermore, 20% advisors added that courses are designed to “check a box” rather than provide a real education, and, 19% believe CEPD content can be too product-oriented.

Region-specific education and networking opportunities also proved highly valuable as 56% of advisors say they would rather join a local professional organization than a global association.

Lastly, the report shows that firms and professional associations play a significant role when advisors are choosing sources for CEPD. For example, slightly more than one-third of advisors attributed the most value to their employers as CEPD education providers. That said, professional associations carried a similar weight in that 30% of advisors reported them to be their top CEPD provider.

Photo copyright: tashatuvango/123RF