MAC Group launches major educational initiative – the “MAC Academy”

The Island’s largest Corporate Financial Advisor MAC Financial has announced the launch of its ‘MAC Academy’ programme, an initiative intended to help the business deal with the upcoming implementation of the Retail Distribution Review, or RDR.

MAC Financial is a division of the MAC Group, one of the Island’s leading insurance and financial services businesses. The new regulations come into force in the UK in January 2013, with the Isle of Man set to follow suit within 12-18 months, and represent a significant development for IFAs.  In addition to changing working practices substantially, such as a proposed ban on commission being received for the sale of investment products, it also requires IFAs to hold a new level of professional qualification.

In response to these new requirements, MAC Financial has established the MAC Academy. This initiative will ensure that all of their staff are trained to the highest standards.  As the Island’s largest provider, they are in a position to invest heavily in developing the resources necessary to meet and even exceed the expectations set by RDR, utilising external training where required.  The company has committed to assessing and training every member of its regulated staff over the next year; paying for all of the books, tuition, exams and other educational requirements, as well as providing sufficient time off for studying, setting up specialist training seminars and organising speakers and specialists to assist where necessary.

Jon McGowan, Managing Director of MAC Group, commented: “RDR is probably the biggest upheaval that the financial advice industry has seen for the last fifty years.  As a result of the new requirements, it has been estimated that up to twenty per cent of IFAs in the UK are simply going to leave the profession, which amounts to about 6,000 people.  This initiative is about meeting and even welcoming that challenge.  It provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate the value that we offer to our clients and an incentive to re-assess where our staff stand in terms of industry knowledge, and where we would like them to be.”

He continued: “We already have a highly qualified team.  Not only are our advisors up to speed with all of the necessary current qualifications, but most of our administrative and business support personnel also hold advisory and specialist qualifications; which is unusual for a business like ours.  The MAC Academy will continue and build on this tradition of knowledge and excellence.”