Adviser concern over post-FASEA exam suicide story

An adviser suicide linked, in part, to stress around the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam has become a major talking point among financial advisers following the story being told as part of a podcast released by major insurer, Metlife. 

The podcast, which was being widely discussed by advisers this week, involved an interview with the accountant wife of the adviser who committed suicide in the months after having sat the FASEA exam. 

The podcast, which pointed to the pressure being suffered by the adviser with respect to the examination, study and compliance urges people who are facing stress and pressures to seek help from their doctors or groups such as Beyond Blue. 

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The adviser’s wife pointed to the fact that her husband had been running a successful financial planning business but had felt pressured by the requirements of the new FASEA regime. 

The following represents a direct quote from the podcast: 

“I think the pressure really built probably early last year when there was talks around education requirements coming in, that was probably what caused the majority of the stress, especially for him ... Someone with 10, 12 years’ experience, which has the qualifications they needed at the time, a successful business. And all of a sudden, you've got to pretty much go back to school, to do things that it probably doesn't teach you anything, apart from giving you a piece of paper, they say, "You're good enough to do this job." It's something that really took its toll. And my husband was one of those people that he really cared, and he wanted to make sure things were done correctly, and he was by the book, and everything was done well. So, last year alone, he said three exams, was running a business, having a family, and being able to have some sort of personal life at the same time. There was a huge 12 months for us, in our family.” 

The podcast can be accessed here

The adviser’s wife urged people who were struggling to “put your hand up, ask for help, make yourself known before it's too late”. 

“You'll be amazed by how many people would just come and help, and how much help and support you will receive in drop of a hat. People are very kind, but people are busy, and they don't necessarily notice you, because everyone is just running around like crazy. So, you have to be the person that says, "Listen, I'm not well, can you please help me?" And people will help you,” she said. 

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So sad. Thanks for the link.

I have had a successful practice for the last 20 years with no compliance issues and happy clients. All of a sudden i know nothing and have to go back to school and if i don't i get kicked out of the industry on 1st January 2026.. My business valuation has plummeted, which was my retirement, and my debt is still there. At 58 i feel the rug has been pulled out from under me. Life is a struggle even with help, but what can you do? Some days are good , some days are bad, some days i just can't function. If you feel the same get support, it makes some difference.

Having been through depressions and having a family who suffer this diabolical disease I know how many of us feel at times when we are faced with change that makes no Sense or logic Just something to make our lives that more difficult
I am not a social worker and have no professional mental health certificates but 40 years in the industry is a start
If your down and need help contact me I am here to do my best if anyone needs to talk

Hi Ken, that's a very kind offer. However, your contact details are not visible in your message so nobody would be able to take you up on that kind offer.

I've sent this link with a plea to Senator Hume - she has a lot of power now to either play it safe or make meaningful and positive change so that this profession can move into the 21st century and cease tormenting the practitioners trying to keep up with the flurry of radical and non sensical requirements that have bombarded them in recent years.

Simply tragic.

so sad to read this - no words, except God Bless you all

The exam and study are just the tip of the iceberg. This is a crisis completely confected by government and they are solely responsible for it. Out of control costs of doing business, punishing mountains of unnecessary paperwork, forced education, exams, McCarthy-like regulators trying to prove they aren’t incompetent, market failure in the PI markets, uncapped personal risk, infinite file look-backs, extreme and asymmetric civil and criminal liabilities, terrified and risk averse licensees writing their own rules, declining practice valuations, an incomprehensible steaming cesspit of regulations and regulators, endlessly changing regulations, expropriation of property rights and heavily geared practice principals. All of this to deal with SIMULTANEOUSLY in a compressed timeframe whilst all your free time and family time has been decimated by the aforementioned. It’s no wonder people are falling to pieces, it’s hard to see any light at the end of this tunnel. Sadly, this Isn’t the first and likely won’t be the last. Unfortunately the advisor has been so thoroughly dehumanised by government and media, that nobody will ever even notice or care about all of this. Quite a legacy to leave behind for all the ministers, but hey arent a few lives are worth the headline “government implements all RC recommendations”?

"unfortunately the advisor has been so thoroughly dehumanised by government and media, that nobody will ever even notice or care about all of this." - Good comment. If you swapped the occupation for Farmer, it would be all over the news, a national outcry, but for some reason Advisers are not human, and not even a whimper at the plight we face, the people lost, and futures tarnished.

....and if it was a builder, the government is doing everything in its power to increase incomes. Quite a difference.

Yes, this is all extremely tragic but farmers and builders don't have a super powerful enemy intent on their destruction, we do.

Anyone who hasn't recognised yet that union super in conjunction with Labor have orchestrated all this ever since the GFC gave them the first whiff of what sh*t was possible to lay at our feet, is blind.

Who insisted on FOFA, reforms, LIF implementation, FASEA, new education requirements and that the Royal Commission must go ahead? Labor, with their friends in CHOICE, AIST, Industry Fund lobby groups and all the other left-wing media whoring groups to gain supposed public support.

Both the unions and Labor literally have hundreds of millions in fees at risk by our continued existence, and possibly billions more in fees to gain with our extermination, especially no wthat most of the banks have exited from wealth management. Imagine if a mandate or legislation were passed that only 'industry' super funds were to hold Australian retirement savings how much they would benefit and could you operate in that environment?

The stress has been consuming now for over 2 years. It started with everyone thinking Shorten would win and immeadiately ban GF commisions. Made me realize it would wipe me out along with 1,000's of other adviser practices. The stress, according to my doctors caused my cancer which I fought and have now beaten! Trauma payment has helped a lot but the stress is still there and getting worse again with all the new annual opt in requirements. We can only do so much to help our clients and have been told to dump over 300 "low value" clients by our licensee.
Congratulations Josh and Scott, you have actually been no better then Shorten in the end.

Just listened to this podcast this is so devastating- Michelle so sorry for your loss. I remember seeing him at the PD day for a brief moment. He did look burnt out and not himself on the day, (During one of the sessions he got up to head to the bathroom, while he was walking he was constantly staring at the floor in a daze, it caught my eye but I didn’t think much of it. unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to catch up with him during the break. It was very upsetting to hear what happened.

FASEA, Covid and other issues of the industry have put so much pressure on us. For those that are undergoing mental health issues whether diagnosed or unsure, please speak to someone about it. I can imagine it would be very hard to bring up a conversation of this nature but doing so can get you in a much better head space, there are many channels to discuss it and get the adequate support required. You’re not alone, everyone experiences some form of mental health challenges at some point of their lives.

This is hard hitting and has definitely made me more aware to checking in more often with my peers, friends and family.

Please take care everyone!

Can't agree more with pretty much all the comments on here - both the sheer anger and frustration at regulators and partic the govt over how they have continually decimated and disrespected this industry and also the sadness that whilst this is and has done for some time been taking an unreasonable toll on so many in this industry, people like Jane Hume posture about as if deep down she's really not interested in the human side of what is happening and still views Advisers as greedy, grubby, salesmen lower than toilet cleaners and not worthy of the same consideration as WOULD be given to other professions or don't be waiting for someone to make things better for you...recognise your own coping levels and if you're struggling - get proactive and get space from the source of the issues...some time away will help...and def speak to someone...anyone about how you're going...please don't suffer in silence

Condolences to the family involved here. All the above comments show what massive amounts of stress we are all under, trying to run a business, study, keep clients happy, achieve work life balance. All of this whilst having in the back of our minds asic or afca may knock on the door, pressure on the dealership side in terms of them cutting out small operators, internal audits every 3 months, rising costs everywhere you look, governments that constantly fiddle with your renumeration and way you operate, lookback projects making you pay money back for services that were never even agreed on and that clients havent even asked for. Im pretty resiliant, at 47 ive done everything required to keep going exam, 4 bridging subjects, still got my marriage but no time for anything else. The stress at this time is unlike anything ive never experienced before, and I've been under some stress in the past working as a manager for a bank as an example. Every single day there seems to be bad news, pi increases, dealership fee increases, asic levy increases, you think how can this get worse but it does. Its not fair for anyone to have this stress, but when I see clients and they are so grateful that im there I think how can I throw in the towel now? Sell my book then what? This is what I love and im damn good at it. Ive worked my whole life to be in this job, im not giving it away that easy, especially due to people that wont even take the time to spend a few days in my office to see what I actually do. They act and legislate on assumptions and input from those that dont know anything about this role, this is the major frustration for me. It has to get easier, but we as a industry do need a breather, we can only take so much, we are only human after all, if you are finding it hard to stay positive please talk to someone , go out for a drink or a coffee with someone you trust and just let it out, do it as much as you need to, please take care my friends and fellow peofessionals, you are valued.

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