FASEA releases existing adviser standard

15-Dec-2017

By Sarah Kendell

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The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority has released its draft educational standard for existing financial advisers, with those who are not currently degree qualified, or have a degree in an unrelated discipline, likely to need to undergo at least two years of part-time study in order to be able to remain in the industry after 2024.

According to the proposed guidance for the existing adviser pathway, released yesterday, advisers must have completed a degree-level qualification that is on the Financial Planning Education Council’s approved list by 1 January 2024, or have undertaken postgraduate study that contains at least eight units covering ethics, financial planning processes and technical requirements.

For advisers who do not hold an approved degree, the authority noted that the easiest way to achieve equivalency was through a post graduate diploma, which typically took two years to achieve through part time study, and required five years’ industry experience and the possible completion of a graduate certificate in order to gain entry to the course.

In a statement on the release of the new standards, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer said the announcement would provide certainty around what was required of advisers in the years ahead and bring education standards better into line with community expectations.

“The previous education requirements, set out in ASIC guidance, allowed some financial advisers to become qualified to provide financial advice to retail consumers after only four days of training,” O’Dwyer said.

“This announcement by FASEA continues the implementation of the government’s reforms that will build trust and confidence in the financial advice industry and ensure that consumers have access to professional advisers who will put their interests first.”

FPA chief executive Dante De Gori said the association was also supportive of the guidelines and looked forward to providing further input before the standard was finalised in mid-2018.

“This guidance will certainly help alleviate some of the anxiety financial planners are feeling about future compliance as some of their prior learning and existing studies will be considered to avoid duplication,” he said.

Deakin Business School associate professor Adrian Raftery agreed that the guidelines were “a good compromise for acknowledging those with previous experience and knowledge without having to do a full 24-subject Bachelor degree, whilst also ensuring the academic integrity and rigour of a tertiary qualification”.

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