The CE Council recently released a guide on proper practices regarding Firm Element Continuing Education. The guide is intended to generate ideas for producing a Firm Element program that not only meets regulatory requirements, but also provides training that is topical, spurs interest from the audience and fosters conversation amongst all stakeholders.

Due to the sheer volume of this guide, Quest CE has broken it into three sections. This blog is intended to cover the written training plan, the second component of an effective CE program.

Click the links below to navigate to other sections of the guide.

Written Training Plan

According to the CE Council, the written training plan is essentially the roadmap that identifies the who, what, when, where and how of a Firm Element CE program. Provided below are details that should be considered when developing your written training plan:


Firms should:

  • identify the covered registered persons at the firm who are required to participate in the Firm Element program;
  • group individuals by business or support area and/or by job function;
  • assign training topics that are universal whereby they are applicable to the entire firm;
  • develop and implement specific training to certain groups or individuals;
  • consider that training objectives that are differentiated for each applicable group of covered registered persons (e.g., registered representatives, supervisors) tend to make the impact of the training more meaningful and applicable to each group; and
  • keep in mind whether the individual is client-facing and/or is a fiduciary.


Firms should:

  • identify the content and training courses to be completed by the firm’s covered registered persons;
  • consider whether they want to take a risk-based approach to prioritize the training courses by applying a scoring system to topics and events identified in the need analysis.
  • vary the training topics and include areas outside the business focus or role of the covered registered person — topics broadly additive to their knowledge and skills of the financial industry and its peripheral influences; and
  • prepare training materials internally or procure content from outside sources.


Firms should:

  • identify the time frame within which the firm’s covered registered persons must complete the assigned training;
  • set the timing for delivery of the training program.
  • determine, depending on the size and scope of training topics, whether to condense the training schedule into one quarter or spread throughout the year;
  • be sensitive to the workload of the individuals and avoid overwhelming schedules with training, if possible; and
  • consider whether to budget extra time to allow for last minute make-up sessions or permit a brief grace period where extenuating circumstances prevent the individual from completing a course by the due date.


Firms should:

  • identify the location(s) where the firm’s training will take place.
  • determine the appropriate training venue(s) based on their business model and footprint, e.g., training can be conducted as part of a branch visit or at the main office as part of a national/regional meeting; and
  • utilize firm technology to administer training in a virtual manner, both self-directed and live webinars.


Firms should:

identify the delivery method(s) the firm will use to administer the assigned training. Below are a few suggestions; however, firms may use any delivery method so long as the training content and participation can be documented and retained. Suggested methods include:

  • in-person training sessions;
  • regularly scheduled morning/afternoon business meetings;
  • online webinars;
  • online computer-based training courses;
  • compliance bulletins;
  • town halls; and
  • annual compliance meeting.

To read the complete guide, provided by the CE Council, click here.

To learn more about Quest CE’s Firm Element program, click here.

To learn more about how to customize Quest CE’s Firm Element content, using our course editor tool, Course Builder, contact our sales team today at