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A clearer path to professionalism
The Institute is conducting a root-and-branch review of the Chartered Banker programme to ensure that the professional qualification keeps pace with the rapid changes in today’s banking industry. The Institute’s COLIN MORRISON explains.
A “radical review” of the structure and content of the Chartered Banker qualification is under way. Targeted for full implementation by the end of 2012, its purpose is to further widen the value of this UK “gold standard” of banking professionalism by sharpening its focus on the contemporary core skills needed by those making a career in banking.
“Events since 2008 have made it amply clear to everyone the extent to which we’re in an entirely new era in the banking industry,” explains the Institute’s Deputy Chief Executive Colin Morrison. “So we want to reflect the new operational imperatives facing bankers today and enhance their professional equipment.”
The current Chartered Banker programme was launched in April 2006, Colin recalls, “when the world of financial services was very different”. The proposed reforms are being circulated for comment among the Institute’s main customers and stakeholders.
The initial proposals would involve a reduction in the number of modules from the 11 current 200-hour modules to five 300-hour modules. “We’re not proposing to lower the level of complexity of the course,” says Colin. “But we’re certainly trying to make the journey to achieve Chartered Banker status shorter, by focusing very intensely on the core skills that today’s banker needs.
“One challenge facing many young bankers right now is that they often don’t see a clear career journey for themselves. We think these changes will help them commit with even greater confidence to a clear path to professionalism.”
The focus will shift to developing practitioners’ skills so that they have “an integrated and critically aware understanding of the fundamentals of banking and the financial services industry”. Other competencies, such as general management, currently covered by the programme may be developed in future through the Institute’s partnership courses such as the Chartered Banker MBA with Bangor Business School.
The review proposes to focus on “providing an extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding” in six areas of study and professional development:
• Professional ethics to develop informed ethical and professional judgements.
• The regulatory framework and the changing context in which it operates.
• Credit and lending techniques and how to apply them professionally.
• Strategic issues in managing and operating a banking insitution.
• Risk management concepts and how to apply them professionally.
• Contemporary issues to make informed judgements about how they affect banking.
The current flexible core and option would be removed. All elements of the course would become core, and the current sectional and menu-based structure (including banking, business skills and elective choices to suit individual needs) would be removed.
The narrower subject range concentrates on areas unique to the Institute and core to the role of a banker. Each module would be considerably larger than current units and would have greater subject coverage.
“We also propose to reduce considerably the current examination burden our candidates face,” says Colin. The current summative assessment methodologies would continue, but we’re also considering a more innovative approach to the formative assessment, including the introduction of a research or work-based assignment.
“We’ll consider how assignment-based work might be counted toward a candidate’s final mark,” explains Colin. “It’s a particularly attractive option, we feel, because it would relate the educational aspect of the Chartered Banker qualification more directly to the projects candidates are tackling in their day-to-day professional workplace.”
The Institute will devise transitional arrangements to ensure that candidates studying on the existing programmes are not disadvantaged. And the current blended approach to student support (including introductory days, student help lines, tutor and mentor support, assignment marking, student forums and revision courses) would be developed further with more e-learning and web-ex seminars.
Further details on the initial proposals are available on the Institute website at www.charteredbanker.com and the Institute welcomes comments from Members.
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