The conditions under which bank advisors operate are changing rapidly: new trends, legislation, products and the demands of customers and the environment are in a state of constant flux. To take all these factors into account, the content and requirements of the SAQ Client Advisor Bank certification system are continuously being revised and adapted.
Right from the outset, sustainability has been at the heart of the Client Advisor certification system’s body of knowledge, which provides an overview of its knowledge requirements and is central in determining its content. SAQ and the banking industry have paid extra attention to this element in this year’s revision of the requirements. All aspects of the topic of sustainability were explored in greater depth and the requirements for client advisors have also been increased.
Thanks to the cooperation with Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) on revising the knowledge requirements for sustainability, the goals set were clearly achieved, yielding various benefits. The advisors have now been equipped for the challenges ahead and bank clients can benefit from the best advice on their requirements for sustainable financial services. For banks, this means even more certainty that their advisors will be able to navigate the ever-increasing range of sustainable products and advise clients according to their needs.
The amended body of knowledge became effective on 1 January 2022 and must be incorporated into the certification examinations within a year. There is a wide range of sustainability recertification training courses available to all holders of existing certificates. The SAQ Swiss Association for Quality, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA), Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) and the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN recommend that anyone holding an SAQ Client Advisor Bank certificate updates themselves on the topic of sustainability as part of the next recertification process. SAQ certifies client advisors at Swiss banks in accordance with the recognised ISO 17024 standard.
SAQ has been offering this quality standard since 2012 in close cooperation with the banking industry. Since 2016, the Swiss Bankers Association has been recommending the client advisor certification to its members. Around 16,000 client advisors now hold a valid SAQ Client Advisor Bank certificate. Holders must renew their certificates every three years by demonstrating that they have undertaken recertification measures (e.g. training courses). This enables certified employees to keep their knowledge and skills up to date and at a high level.
For more information:
Daniel Meyer, Head of Certification / Member of the Executive Board, banking(at)saq.ch, Tel. +41 (0)31 330 99 17
Swiss Bankers Association (SBA)
«The SBA welcomes the fact that sustainability issues are at the forefront of this important certification. This will make a further significant contribution to ensuring the high quality of customer service in Switzerland.»
Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF)
«The active contribution of Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) to the revision of the content of the Bodies of Knowlegde resulted in a broad inclusion of sustainability aspects. As a result, Swiss client advisors will further expand their know-how on the possibilities and effects of various sustainable financing solutions and inform on them competently and comprehensibly in their client conversations.»
Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
«The Federal Council considers the integration of sustainable finance in financial education and training to be a quality feature and a significant competitive factor for the Swiss financial centre. The FOEN supports sustainable finance education initiatives and welcomes this important development, which enables SAQ-certified client advisors to play an active role in the Confederation's efforts to develop a sustainable Swiss financial centre.»