Italy, along with Spain, is among the first regional associations to allow Efpa to branch out at European level, but it has lagged behind its Iberian neighbour in adopting independent certifications.
Spain currently has just over 27,000 Efpa-certification holders, compared to Italy with about 6,000, the Efpa Europe president Emanuele Carluccio, told Italian investment magazine, Investire.
“The gap between Italy and Spain is linked to fewer demands from the Italian banking sector in regard to independent certifications,” he said.
“In fact, in Spain, it was the banks that pushed for their employees to obtain independent certifications aiming for higher standards in the investment consultancy sector.”
Italian consultants are paving the way
Carluccio added that the slow increase in Efpa-certified professionals in Italy is largely attributed to financial consultants.
Additionally, the Italian association of financial consultants (Anasf) has backed Efpa Italy’s project to reach out to a greater number of banks, urging them to get independent certifications for their employees.
“The possible opening of Efpa Italy’s governance to banks and consultant network associations should get Italy closer to other European countries quickly,” he continued.
Carluccio also explained that Italy’s financial services industry, especially banks, is still very much based on internal qualifications and “auto-referencing”.
“Just like the CFA certification is the standard for all those who work in the asset management sector, the different tiers of Efpa certifications should become the standard for those who operate in the consulting and financial planning industry.
“Independent certifications are the easiest and most logical answer to those professionals who wish to invest in their own skills and who would appreciate if those were to be measured and verified.”
He explained that the European financial services landscape is still very bank-centric, which is why Efpa needs to start reaching out to the sector.
French group BNP Paribas has already urged its private bankers to become Efpa certified.
Branching outside of Europe
One of Carluccio’s goals, after a year as president of Efpa Europe, is to expand the association’s reach outside the EU.
As a matter of fact, he said Efpa has recently opened a branch in Israel, following last month’s announcement about the cooperation between Efpa Spain and Mexico.