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10 March 2023

As a regulated adviser, continuous professional development (CPD) remains one of the most important activities you undertake.

Not only is it a requirement, but it is the only way to improve/maintain your technical knowledge. Keeping abreast of the latest products, markets, opinion and regulation, is all essential if you are to provide clients with expert advice and guidance on their financial decisions.

It is not just advisers who undertake CPD. As compliance consultants, we are constantly learning so we can give our clients up to date, accurate information. Paraplanners and admin teams should be doing it too.

But how do you know if the CPD you sign up for is suitable and worth your while?

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A good starting point is to really focus on what you aim to achieve during this year. Do you want another qualification under your belt, are you looking to fill a knowledge gap or is CPD mandatory as part of your job role?

Creating a personal development plan that focuses on your individual needs, career goals and professional achievements allows you to select CPD that is relevant, rather than choosing haphazard courses just to hit the required 35 hours.

The sheer volume of options available can be overwhelming, so focus on good quality seminars aligned to what you want to learn or know about, to ensure they are engaging and useful.

Focus on type of learning

Gone are the days when you could literally spend weeks at professional events – technology has put paid to that!

Not only can we pick and choose what we are going to learn about, but also how and when we undertake the CPD. Workshops and conferences can be beneficial, as long as the agenda will give you what you need professionally, but reading industry publications can be just as worthwhile. Remember though, you must consider if the content is factual or the opinion of a journalist. There are also some great webinars and podcasts available that are designed to fit into a busy day.

Make sure you focus your CPD on areas you know need improvement. We all know our areas of weakness and it is a great opportunity to address them. Whatever method of CPD you choose it should teach you something you didn’t know or at least build on the skills and knowledge you have already attained.

Annual testing

If you undertake annual testing, how do you use it? The most important things are your wrong answers and these should be factored into your personal development. There is no point focusing on what you already know.

CPD needs to be recorded well, especially if it is structured. Use the learning objectives to show what knowledge you have gained in your reflective statements and record what you know now that you didn’t before and how you will apply the information.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, good CPD should be enjoyable and stimulating. It should provide an opportunity for learning, growth and challenge. If you don’t engage with the subject matter, there’s very little chance you will retain the information.

Treat CPD as an investment – the knowledge and skills you gain can lead to progression and career success. That sounds like a fair return to me!

If you would like more information about selecting suitable CPD and recording the outcomes, don’t hesitate to contact us on (0161) 521 8641 or email:

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