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NIBA, institute plot path for broker education

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Discussions on enhanced professional education for brokers will come to a head next week as the key players plan the way ahead.

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) have been in talks for the past few months to address shortcomings in broker education.

The NIBA board will meet next week to discuss progress in the talks, which were sparked by prominent broker Martin McAvenna’s criticism in May of the two organisations’ “divergent formats for industry education”. 

“We’ve been looking at the options and gathering fresh ideas on education for brokers,” NIBA CEO Dallas Booth said. “The focus has been strongly on the best approach for broker education.” understands internal discussions on broker education have included options for the future of NIBA College, which was set up in 1995 as NIBA Education to provide members with an alternative to ANZIIF courses.

The talks have been “constructive and collaborative”, and have addressed “a significant decline in broker education over a long period”, ANZIIF CEO Prue Willsford told today.

“We have been collaborating on research into education and the needs of brokers and the market now and over the next five years.

“It’s just over 12 years since the regulator introduced RG146 and mandatory Tier 1 and 2 training was introduced. Before that time brokers undertook a full diploma, but there seems to have been a drop-off over that time.

“The minimum [training requirement] has become the maximum. But if brokers want to thrive, they need more than the minimum.”

Sheila Baker, MD of independent broker training organisation Gold Seal, has previously criticised broker training providers for becoming overly focused on ensuring compliance with minimum standards and adopting a “tick-a-box approach”.

The accredited certificate and diploma courses for brokers designed by the government-run Innovation & Business Skills Australia – which are advised by NIBA and ANZIIF – have also been criticised for focusing on process to the detriment of technical skills.