Govt unveils education standards board


By Daniel Paperny

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The federal government has unveiled its Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) board to oversee the implementation of the advice industry’s new professional standards. The board will be chaired by the Reserve Bank’s Payments Systems Board director Catherine Walter.

The FASEA, comprising of nine members, has been tasked with governing the conduct of professionals in the financial advice sector by establishing mandatory educational and training requirements, developing and setting an industry exam, as well as the formation of a code of ethics that all advisers will be required to adhere to.

The board is also responsible for ensuring the financial viability of the authority and setting its strategic objectives for the future.

Joining Walter on the board as directors are Countplus chief executive Matthew Rowe, Association of Financial Advisers treasurer Deborah Kent, UniSuper director Stephen Somogyi, Financial Ombudsman Service director Catriona Lowe, Legal Services Board for Victoria director Carolyn Bond, former National Seniors Australia chief executive Michael O’Neil, Ethics Centre executive director Simon Longstaff and Financial Planning Education Council chairman Mark Brimble.

Commenting on the government’s announcement, Financial Services Council chief executive Sally Loane welcomed FASEA’s appointments, saying the formation of the board was “at the heart” of professionalising the financial advice industry.

“There is a lot of work to do ahead of the 1 January deadline, not just to set the standards and publish the code of ethics but also to ensure that advisers have time to complete and meet the new requirements,” Loane added.

“The next step will be for FASEA to appoint the CEO and a lean and efficient Secretariat as soon as possible to enable stakeholders to work through the detail of the new education and professional standards requirements.”

FPA chief executive Dante De Gori said the association, along with other professional bodies, would be responsible for ensuring member conduct met the new minimum standards set by FASEA.

“The FPA and other professional bodies will be responsible for ensuring the conduct of members meets the new minimum standards set by FASEA,” De Gori said.

“New advisers will be required to hold a relevant degree before they are eligible to commence a supervision year and to sit the exam,” he said.

FASEA’s education requirements for advisers will be introduced from 1 January 2019 and its code of ethics will be enforced on 1 January 2020.

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