Manchester Metropolitan University

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Finance students get edge in job market

Qualification - a first for a UK university

MMU Business School has become the first in the UK to offer an education programme for the Certified Financial Planner (CM) certification.

Around 300 US colleges run the qualification but none in the UK, until today when the Institute of Financial Planning, the UK professional body for financial planners, announced MMU as its first UK academic partner.

In a move that looks likely to set a new educational benchmark for the Financial Services sector, MMU’s Financial Services degree becomes the first in the UK to offer a programme which will meet the pre-certification education requirement for the Certified Financial Planner qualification, the sector's highest professional standard.

Unique opportunity

Under the partnership, final year students in the University’s Financial Services degree programme will be the first in the UK to submit case study reports to the IFP for accreditation as Certified Financial Planner professionals.

Upon mastery of MMUBS’s programme and IFP’s case study examination, students with appropriate experience will qualify for CFP certification. The partnership will also see mentoring and placement programmes established with many of the UK’s leading financial planners and financial planning firms.

The first students to graduate from the programme in the Summer of 2007 will do so with a qualification equivalent to the Diploma in Financial Services. After a preparation day and a 4–day fast track programme, they will qualify for Certified Financial Planner certification.

Professor Bob Sweeting, Head of the Accounting and Finance Division at MMUBS said: "Our students will share in a unique opportunity. They will benefit hugely from the IFP’s mentoring programme and other support materials , and will gain a better appreciation of theory put into practice.

Better job prospects

"Not only will the experience and knowledge that our students gain enable them to become members of the IFP, it will dramatically enhance their prospects of employment. The revised degree programme will be of interest to the major employers of financial services professionals, who struggle to find good quality advisers and trainees.

"Our partnership with the IFP is in keeping with our policy of extending relationships with professional bodies and bolsters our reputation as the UK’s leading professional business school. It further underlines our determination to help students develop the broad range of academic, personal and professional skills that employers demand today."

Nick Cann, Chief Executive of the IFP said: "Today’s announcement represents a significant step forward in achieving recognition for the financial planning profession in the UK, to increase the number of advisers holding CFP certification and to raise awareness of the CFP.

"In Manchester Metropolitan we are linking up with one of the country’s leading business schools, which enjoys a strong reputation in the field of Financial Services. I am confident the programme will prove a great success. Seen in the context of the US, and Australia too, we have some catching up to do – but this programme, I am convinced, will be the first of many, all over the country.”

Emerging profession

Financial Planning Standards Board’s Chief Executive, Noel Maye, congratulated the IFP and Manchester Metropolitan University Business School on the move: "For financial planning to emerge as a respected profession, the academic and practitioner communities must work together to promote quality programmes in the body of knowledge for financial planning. We are pleased that a programme of the calibre of MMUBS has stepped forward to create additional opportunities for the next generation of UK planners."

Stephen Bland, Sector Leader for Retail Intermediaries and Director, Small Firms Division at the FSA also welcomed the development. "The Institute of Financial Planning undertakes excellent work in its drive to raise standards in the marketplace. We applaud this new initiative."

For more information, contact Professor Sweeting on 0161 247 3789

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