For those of you who don’t know, I have passed the exam “Award in Education and Training” and very pleased I am too. I took the Award because I felt it was a great way of confirming my abilities to provide training on Anti-Money Laundering (amongst other compliance subjects) but it proved to be more valuable than I thought. As well as giving me an insight into the way people learn, it also taught me a lot about the roles and responsibilities of teachers – a very topical subject.
When I mean topical I do not mean the Education Debate which is currently raging in Guernsey. As this post is on my business website, I am looking at the subject from the perspective of the Commission’s training requirements.
As I am sure you noticed, the Commission’s Guidance on Training and Competency paper (originally issued on 11th November 2014) was amended again on the 16th May 2016. The paper observes that, since 1st January 2015, Investment licensees, Insurance Managers and Intermediaries have been required to have a training and competency scheme for each employee. It is made absolutely clear that these Schemes are not just for their Financial Advisers and Authorised Insurance Representatives but all of their employees. Interestingly though, having trawled through the Commission’s website, I have not been able to find the same requirements for Banking and Fiduciary licensees although I am sure you would be roundly endorsed if you treated all your employees in the same way.
Each Scheme should be an easy to use means of assessing and monitoring an employee’s ongoing competence in their respective roles and identify individual training needs. More importantly the licensee, the employee and the Commission should be able to clearly understand its aims and outcomes and, as usual, the Board is responsible for the effectiveness of any Scheme and have sufficient management information for effective monitoring and supervision.
The requirement for supervision of employees brings its own issues of course. As well as a Scheme for their own role in the business, the person appointed as supervisor must also have a Scheme for this second role which ensures they have all the necessary skills to act as a competent supervisor. This, of course, means that the individual needs to be technically knowledgeable with the required experience in both the subject and in the art of supervision.
But how does a licensee work out the criteria and procedures for assessing whether an individual is competent in their respective role? How do you make an initial assessment of a new employee’s level of competence? How do you supervise the performance of employees? More importantly, how do you deal with an employee who does not achieve the level of competence identified as required for the job? As well as being a big ask, it also begs the question who assesses the assessor? Also, after putting a great deal of effort into these Schemes, don’t forget to review all the policies and procedures regularly and when roles and people change. We all know that a role changes depending on who is filling it.
Luckily there is some help at hand (and not just me or your HR team) – the Guernsey Training Agency have produced Training Matrices which can be found on their Services page under Advisory Groups and Qualification Pathways. It is worth noting that the matrices deal mainly with qualifications and specifically do not cover experience. Although the matrices (other than Investment) include a need for new entrants to have compliance knowledge, I am a little surprised they do not indicate that employees need an increasing level of knowledge of AML as their career progresses. The preamble states that the matrix does not include compliance updates and one-off courses in anti-money laundering, but I would have thought a qualification in AML would be recommended for other employees not just those in the Compliance Department? But then again that may be because of the nature of the qualifications available.
As to AML, the Regulations and Handbooks are clear on the requirements for training and so this will be part of a well-documented Scheme. However, to finish with a warning, I understand that the Commission’s PRISM visits have shown that one area of concern is the lack of adequate AML training. I suspect this is not just a reference to the standard annual update or one-off courses in anti-money laundering but also adequate training on your in-house procedures. If I may, I suggest you check that this training is part of your Schemes and then review its content, its relevance, its effectiveness ……..