The CII and PFS have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Hong Kong’s sister school, the Hong Kong University Space, which specialises in professional education courses.
The MOU will see the university incorporate CII qualifications within programmes for students who are being encouraged by the Hong Kong government to consider specialist roles in insurance as a first career choice.
Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS and managing director of the CII, said: “The CII’s international strategy has largely been restricted to general insurance and therefore missing out on the huge potential which sits within a growing financial advice profession.
“The international team in Asia Pacific has also found that the brand of PFS resonates better with many ‘life co’ firms and their respective course of evolution away from insurance selling, to advising on financial planning lifetime needs.
“The development of our international structure and strategy established over the past 12 months will enable the CII/PFS to realise the potential it has been missing and aspires to achieve.”
The PFS and CII have also signed an MOU with the Think Tank for Chinese Insurers (TTCI) and Beijing-based Peking University.
The preliminary agreement will provide for the adoption of the PFS/CII qualification framework, including study materials, learning, training and accreditation services for the financial services sectors in China.
TTIC was jointly formed by the Insurance Society of China, China Insurance Newspaper Co and the Enterprise and Education Research Centre of Peking University in December 2016.
Registered with the China government, the think tank’s mission is to serve as an expert panel for decision-making within the Chinese insurance industry by providing services such as training, education, consultancy, performance assessment, competition, international forums and professional exchanges.
Supporting the market
“This new partnership is based on a unique collaboration to develop a China-centric professional programme, utilising the experience of the UK market,” Richards added.
“Our team in Hong Kong and ambassadors across China will help to provide the foundations to build a mutually aligned strategy for the benefit of China and its integration with international markets.
“We have agreed to jointly scope the structure and development of a professional body for the sector, to include a broader membership proposition, a flagship annual conference, awards and recognition.
“This new venture is based on a unique collaboration to develop a relevant programme, supporting a potential market of around eight million financial advisers.”
Richards told International Adviser that the CII/PFS are in discussions with other Asia Pacific countries but it is “too early to share any more at this stage”.
He added: “The UK is a perfect partner and has the knowledge and experience to support the evolving financial planning objectives in other regions, [while] naturally recognising any regulatory, tax and cultural differences.
“The world is becoming a smaller place and the sharing of ‘good practice’ from both a financial planning and regulatory perspective is becoming more sought after and aligned.”
In June, the PFS unveiled its global e-mentoring service, Connect, for members to promote professional development and learning for personal finance professionals at any stage of their careers.