Push towards higher educational standards for planners continue

For the first time Money Management asked the dealer groups in a survey to share their views on the educational requirements for new advisers as well as their expectations were towards current employees. Oksana Patron reports the findings.

While many groups made an extra effort and established separate requirements for both categories, the vast the majority decided to have in place the same criteria for all advisers.

The most common educational standard among the dealer groups who participated in the survey was either a Diploma in Financial Planning (DFS) or an Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning (ADFS), with roughly around 70 per cent of groups choosing it as it minimum educational standard.

Of all companies that discussed their views on education for new and existing advisers and planners, only a few had additionally introduced internal accreditation or imposed any other internal requirement.

Also, a few companies allowed some extra time for their current advisers to take another step to improve their education.

For example, BT Financial Advice allowed its planners to choose from between a few options. It announced that as far as the new advisers were concerned, they must have a relevant tertiary degree such as a business degree with a financial planning major, or alternatively an ADFS or equivalent.

Currently, BT planners and advisers could still be accepted if they committed themselves to complete an ADFP within 12 months.

However, by 2019 they must hold one of the following qualifications or designations: being a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) via the Financial Planning of Association (FPA), or fellow chartered financial practitioner via the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) or they could hold a Master of Financial Planning from an approved provider or university.

They will also be offered an option to hold a specialist financial planning designation through either the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA) or CPA Australia.

In contrast, a small number of companies decided that Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) issued regulatory guide 146 (RG146) — the minimum training required to seel financial products — would serve as their only criteria for both current and new advisers.

Additionally, the dealer groups which had different educational requirements for existing and new advisers, the majority had higher requirements for the newcomers.

Mercer Advice went as far as setting the criteria for current advisers to have a Certificate in Financial Planning (CFP) and required the new advisers to have an approved degree in order to be authorised to provide tier one personal advice.

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