Kaplan enrolments surge amid reforms

Advisers are taking a longer-term approach and using their time to achieve higher standards within their field.


By Leanne Abbas

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Enrolments for Kaplan Professional’s Master of Financial Planning course had surged as financial advisers positioned themselves for long-term success ahead of the federal government’s planned reforms to industry educational standards, according to the education and training provider.

Enrolments for the first study period of 2017 had increased by 20 per cent compared to the same period in 2016, and had grown by 25 per cent since the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Bill 2016 was introduced into Parliament in November last year, according to data provided by Kaplan.

Kaplan chief executive Brian Knight said he was pleased advisers were taking a longer-term approach and using their time to achieve higher standards within their field, instead of waiting to discover what the minimum standards would be when the bill was finalised.

“We have already had record enrolments since the announcement … we have also had many more come to us saying: ‘What do I need to do to be the best I can be?’” Knight said.

“I am impressed with the commitment from advisers; it is obvious they are taking this very seriously and have pride in the development of their profession.”

He also stressed the importance of financial advisers pursuing ongoing professional development instead of settling for the bare minimum.

“A pure financial planning master’s degree is a framework to learn, question and implement to significantly expand one’s knowledge as a thinker and strategist,” he said.

The education provider also offers an alternative education program, The Capstone Project, which is designed to allow advisers to bring theory and practice together to enhance their performance at work.

Kaplan Professional head of faculty Jennifer Hornsey said the project contributed directly to improving standards in the advice industry as “it gives both practical and academic rigour, and a depth of knowledge to the sector like the extensive body of knowledge available in other well-established fields of finance”.

“Hopefully it also encourages advisers to continue on the research path because it is extremely important to extend the sector’s collective knowledge in a practical sense … this will contribute to the broader community acknowledging financial planning as a profession,” Hornsey said.

She added previous research topics in the program included financial planning for families with a disabled child, the value of networking in financial planning, and underinsurance in Australia.

Knight added advisers needed to have confidence in their knowledge and ability in relation to the new standards.

“Those that are on or start their education journey now are the advisers of the future … the leaders and professionals who will be recognised by the industry, the government, but more importantly their clients and the broader community,” he said.

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