“I was into you, but I’m over it now
And I was tryin’ to be nice
But nothing’s getting through, so let me spell it out”
— Gayle, abcdefu
Time to speak up. Time to be heard.
Treasury released their Education Standards for Financial Advisers policy paper last week, with submissions to close 1 February 2022.
You will no doubt be aware of FASEA introducing the requirement for financial advisers to complete a bachelor or higher degree (or equivalent qualification) that is approved by FASEA.
Existing providers, which are those Advisers who were on the Financial Adviser Register any time between 1 January 2016 and January 2019) have until 1 January 2026 to complete a FASEA approved degree.
From 1 January 2022 the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy will assume responsibility for setting the minimum education and training standards for financial advisers.
Call me cynical, however I can’t help but notice the consultation period is very short and the subject content suspiciously similar to the announcement previously made by the Opposition.
Further, given that this is not a new issue, it’s a position that the current Minister (or any of her predecessors) could have made well in advance of the upcoming election.
Whatever the motivation, we are pleased to see this being addressed.
In summary, Treasury is proposing to recognise on-the-job experience, whilst ensuring there is a base level of knowledge across the industry.
The proposed amendments
Treasury propose amending the current structure to allow multiple paths to proficiency – one pathway prioritising experience and prior learning and one prioritising formal qualifications.
as of the commencement date specified in s1546B(1) of the Corporations Act (1 January 2026), individuals who have 10 or more years of full-time experience as a financial adviser in the last 12 years will only need to complete a tertiary level unit on the Code of Ethics in order to continue providing financial advice.
individuals (existing providers or new entrants) who do not meet the requirements under the “experience pathway” must complete a bachelor’s degree or higher with at least 8 units in a related field of study in any combination. Units must either be at Bachelor’s (AQF7), Graduate Diploma (AQF8) or Master’s (AQF9) level. Existing providers continue to have until 1 January 2026 to complete any required units.
Read the Policy
Advisers who intend to use the experienced pathway must also have a clean record prior to 1 January 2026, meaning no sanctions from the Financial Services and Credit Panel (FSCP), excluding warnings.
The proposed changes would give the FSCP the power to require Advisers undertake additional training and may in fact utilise these powers as part of their disciplinary action.
Treasury is seeking feedback on the proposed education pathways, in particular:
- the impact of the proposal on industry and stakeholders, including the cost to business;
- whether the proposal meets the policy objective of streamlining the education standard and whether the proposed approach appropriately recognises on-the-job experience while ensuring there is a base level of knowledge across the financial advice industry;
- what would enable other education providers such as registered training organisations and professional associations to offer courses that meet the proposed education requirements at an AQF 7, 8 or 9 level; and
- whether the professional year standard (set out in the Corporations (Work and Training Professional Year Standard) Determination 2018) should be amended to require additional study at a Graduate Certificate or Diploma (AQF 8) level to complement the broadening of the relevant fields of study. These could be done in a specialised area of the licensee and new entrant’s choosing, allowing the professional year candidate to develop a deeper knowledge alongside their practical training.
To ensure your voice is heard, send your submissions to FAStandards@treasury.gov.au by 1 February 2022.