What has an institute traditionally associated with the banking industry got to offer the risk community? Quite a lot, according to Bruce Carnegie-Brown, talking here with Sue Copeman

You have many demands on your time, so why did you decide to accept the presidency of the IFS?

Bruce Carnegie-Brown: It was the focus on learning and skills. That is an area I've always been very interested in, and becoming president has given me the opportunity to combine my particular interest in learning and talent development with the opportunity to work closely on some of the strategic issues that the IFS is focusing on in the next few years.

What are the key issues?

Bruce Carnegie-Brown: The strategic issues involve turning the IFS from what was originally a provider of professional qualifications to the banking industry into an institution that is turning itself into a more broadly based school of learning. This has already started to happen.

Whereas 20 years ago the focus would have been on school leavers going into the banking industry, today the range of qualifications that IFS offers is aimed at a large diversity of people.

For example, the IFS is the biggest provider of educational services to schools in the 14 to 19 year old age group. It recently acquired a company called ProShare, which has a stock market investment game for schools. In this year's competition, over 30,000 students from around 900 schools are taking part.

Financial literacy in the 14 to 19 years old age group is a big focus of the Financial Services Association. Their surveys suggest it is very poor, and the IFS is working on providing skills and training in that area.

Moving upwards, the IFS is looking to offer a far greater range of qualifications.

For example, it now provides a qualification called the CEMAP (certificate in mortgage advice and practice) - 90% of people engaged in providing mortgage advice have it now - and it didn't exist a few years ago.

How is this relevant to risk management?

Bruce Carnegie-Brown: Risk management takes in lots of different aspects.

There are aspects of what IFS does today which fit with risk management - for example, courses for qualifications in insurance and banking, which have an element of risk management in them. Certainly the skills that are transferable between financial services industries have a great deal to do with understanding of risk management. So it is a logical area for the IFS to develop into.

What does your work as president involve?

Bruce Carnegie-Brown: I am chairman of the council of the IFS, which is the key strategy body. In addition, I visit local chapters of the IFS around the country, making presentations and meeting people.

However, there is also an increasingly international aspect in what the IFS is trying to do in terms of marketing UK qualifications to foreign nationals for the development of their own financial markets. One of the initiatives I am working on is coordinating what the Lord Mayor of London is doing in his current term of office with what the IFS wants to provide by way of qualifications to countries like China and India.

There are also specific initiatives that we are engaged in, for example applying to the Privy Council to broaden the charter of the IFS to cover the areas we have been talking about.

Where do you see the IFS in five years' time?

Bruce Carnegie-Brown: I think it will look more like a business school for financial services. In that sense it will compete more broadly with a range of institutions, not just traditional professional qualification bodies, but also broader schools of learning and management. It will have a strong focus on remote learning and will be a centre where increasingly regulated entities in the UK and elsewhere outsource a lot of training.

Companies are increasingly devolving responsibility for these kinds of training activities to employees themselves, and the IFS will be somewhere employees can go to again and again in the course of their careers to upgrade their skills and learn new ones

- Sue Copeman is editor, StrategicRISK. Bruce Carnegie-Brown is president of the Institute of Financial Services, and CEO of Marsh Europe.


The Institute of Financial Services (IFS) is launching a new Applied Diploma in Risk and Insurance Management. The qualification combines the relevant foundation knowledge of financial services management with specialist skills in risk and insurance management.

The Diploma is recognised throughout the financial services industry, and credits gained by achieving the qualification may allow you to progress to the IFS BSc in Financial Services and Associateship.

To achieve the Applied DFSM - Risk and Insurance Management, students need to achieve 120 credits, through a combination of IFS units and exemptions offered to those holding CII qualifications.

For further information contact Vanessa Chance, Tel 01227 818650, or e-mail vchance@ifslearning.com