The scheme is owned by Finance Norway and the Norwegian Fund and Asset Management Association, and is operated by The Finance Industry Authorisation schemes (FinAut), read more about this and how AFR and FinAut are organized on FinAut’s homepage.
The authorisation scheme for financial advisers, AFR, is a nationwide non-governmental authorisation scheme for financial advisers in Norway. The aim is to set and elevate high quality standards for competence and ethical behaviour for the financial advisory sector, benefiting the industry, financial firms and customers. Each and every customer will be able to benefit from competent, reliable and transparent advice from trusted, certified financial advisers.
Customer care, trust, credibility and legitimacy
It is crucially important to customers that all financial advisers possess the appropriate knowledge, skills and ethical attitudes required to serve as financial trustees for the clients’ finances. National, industry-wide minimum standards and national testing, in a controlled environment, ensure that all advisers live up to these standards and give the scheme legitimacy and credibility. This is necessary for the public’s confidence in the financial industry, and for the industry's reputation.
Financial advice is defined as the personal guidance provided by advisers at financial services firms on the investment of clients' financial wealth. The scheme is aimed primarily at advice for retail customers.
Who needs to be authorised?
Both financial advisers and relevant managers need to be authorised. Purely administrative staff is not covered by the scheme. Although all advisers should, as a rule, be authorised, there are some groups who need to be considered separately. Where the line is drawn, is decided by the firm itself.
Candidates must pass a written knowledge test covering six subject areas, a simulated online test where they have to restrain reflection on an ethical dilemma, and an extensive practical assessment test. At least one year's relevant professional experience is also required.
The scheme is based on specific minimum requirements set out in a syllabus for the written test, a syllabus for the simulated ethical test and a framework for the practical assessment test.
Which firms needs to be authorised?
Responsibility for the authorisation of advisers rests with their employers – financial services firms that sell or market financial savings products for retail customers (primarily banks, securities firms and fund managers). All such firms may join the authorisation scheme. Firms submit candidates for examination and ensure that authorisations are maintained and up to date.