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The Credit Services Association (CSA)
The power of people
From CCR Magazine - May 2016
Fiona Macaskill, CSA Head of Learning & Development
Businesses have been increasingly focused on their employees’ learning and development, understanding that it is people that give a business its unique point of difference. Career learning and development, however, is not the sole reserve of the junior employee; senior management also acknowledges the need to enhance and upgrade their skills and knowledge base.
The CSA Level 5 Diploma in Compliance Risk Management for the Debt Collection Industry is one such qualification that is resonating with a good many senior industry professionals, among them Selima Norton, regulatory compliance director at Engage
Services (formerly Chase Solutions UK).
She says that the decision to study for the diploma was influenced by the course content: “The course was weighted against other similar courses, and the decision to choose the CSA Level 5 Diploma was based upon its strong focus upon Financial Conduct
Authority (FCA) requirements, together with detailed content relating to the Financial Services and Markets Act.
“A further determining influence was the reference to the Eurozone and its impact on the economies worldwide, and especially the making of regulations and directives and the effect that they also have in the UK when considering compliance requirements.”
Steve Perring, compliance manager, Cabot Credit Management agrees: “Every part of the diploma is relevant to my job. The European Legislation module was perhaps the most difficult; it is quite technical, learning how European legislation relates to the UK.
Compliance monitoring and the need for a compliance plan were important to understanding the FCA’s expectations.”
Ms Norton says that she, too, found the content focusing upon the FCA particularly useful: “The content was very targeted and detailed, and provided good knowledge of FCA expectations and risk-management requirements. The backdrop to the FCA and its
formation was extremely interesting.”
Danny Spenceley, who has also recently completed the diploma, is, perhaps, a slightly more unusual candidate in that he does not work for a business, but is, rather, the compliance manager at the CSA.
“To progress within the industry, it is essential to broaden your knowledge and experience, and understand things from a company perspective,” he says. “Gaining the diploma has given me a much greater insight into compliance and the demands of the
regulator, and this allows me to speak to our members with a great authority, and apply what I have learned to our own association.”
The blended approach to learning offered by the diploma certainly enables students to experience varied and diverse teaching, something which Mr Spenceley believes made the course interesting and kept students engaged throughout.
“Teaching methodologies were delivered via a mix of both workshop-style interaction and classroom-style approaches,” he says. “We were also provided with comprehensive reference notes at the end of each session which proved beneficial for study purposes between sessions.
“Different tutors were assigned at various stages of the course, which provided for an interesting mix of teaching methodologies.”
Ms Norton says that, whilst it was a challenging commitment to undertake the qualification, the course content assisted her in real-world situations and was able to apply her learning to benefit the company: “One positive aspect of the coursework was easily identifiable when we received questions from the FCA which mirrored some of the research that was being undertaken for the course and I was able to apply this into our working practices. Research for the course was especially utilised in the work environment during the FCA authorisation process.”
Mr Perring agrees: “A particular benefit to the diploma is that is it very evidence based and focused on the practical application of knowledge.”
The content of the diploma, he explains, is aimed at more senior compliance staff – compliance managers and heads of compliance – and giving them the skills to be even better at what they do. It would be wrong, however, to see the course as being ‘niche’.
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