Adviser group calls for FASEA exam boycott

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam is completely opaque non-transparent in application and meaningless as an academic industry entry requirement and should be boycotted.  

That is the assessment of United Financial Advisers Association (UFAA) chairman, Alex Vagliviello who said the exam did not even bestow an industry accreditation on those who passed it or assist with consumers understanding the individual adviser’s competency. 

“Insultingly, it doesn’t even count towards an adviser’s annual Continual Professional Development requirement despite the amount of time this exercise entails,” he said. “Yet failure to pass the exam will end an adviser’s business putting an end to their livelihood regardless of years of practice and experience.” 

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Vagliviello said that it was for this reason that the UFAA was now calling for a boycott of the exam and “seeking a practical alternative that is both honest, transparent and filled with integrity”. 

“Regardless of the narrative put forward by the LNP or Labor, FASEA and the industry is confused and in disarray while over-regulated to the point where it is on the verge of collapse,” he said. 

“Overcome by reform fatigue, advisers are leaving the industry in record numbers with those remaining under severe strain as their businesses cope with a never-ending deluge of administrative and compliance demands.” 

“In this sense, the sector finds itself unique in that these confusing compliance demands, when compared to other similar industries, is dissuading new entrants considering a career in financial services,” Vagliviello said. 

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Hallelujah finally someone has said what is so true, bombarding us with all this compliance barking orders like Nazi's to the advisers who really have become the prey rather than the solution.

According to the ASIC FAR, checked today, Alessandro holds a '2004 PS146 Knowledge Assessment' from Integratec as his qualification.

What a shmuck you are. What are your air? I love the UFAA and their stance. About time someone stood up as the associations FPA AFA AIOFP have done nothing so far. If you paid these people then you are the dummy.

The ufaa is an embarrassment to the industry. Especially for those of us that had the guts and made the sacrifice to sit the exam. If they charged membership fees they would have no members, end of story.

Totally agreed this industry body is a joke run by a fool who has no qualifications himself, this is standard practice for any profession accountants have the CA or CFP exams lawyers have to pass an exam doctors have to if we want to move forward and separate ourselves from the salesman image of the past this is something we all need to do it’s not hard any planner with half a brain could pass it and those who can’t we’ll study harder and you will get there if not then this probably is not the profession for you find something in sales instead

Agreed. There are excellent financial planners who have done the study, passed the exams, and work to high professional standards.

honest lawyer. there is no such thing.

I agree with the sentiment too, BUT the exam has been legislated. There is no way the Government will change that. The media would hound them. So the suggestion of a boycott is stupid and dangerous. The quicker we all get the exam done the better. That way our collective attention can turn to the much bigger problem - The FASEA Code of Ethics. When ASIC, AFCA and the new disciplinary body start looking at it through legal eyes, we will all be wiped out if it is not rectified.
PS. You while you can't claim CPD for sitting the exam, you can claim the study completed in preparation for it.

yeah, i am also gonna protest and not do the exam.


I agree it is causing so much stress and on top of all the other compliance and study changes with the post graduate degree requirements, somewhere the client is being forgotten as we try to meet all these new demands. Personally I feel like I have a gun to my head and it is affecting my ability to do it effectively. I have done it and failed and asked for some guidance on how much I failed by and how and was told they didn't release that information I just "FAILED". I have now paid for a tutor who is fantastic and have had to book out 2 weeks and advise my clients apologies I am uncontactable to try and find time to study in preparation for another go. I have had to bring it forward due to the 3 month lag as if I waited until August and for some awful reason didn't pass then I couldn't take it again in November so I would lose my livelihood. Edan Wilson

The real issue is that the FASEA exam should be available to be sat at least once a month, every month (as a bare minimum).. There should be detailed feedback to advisers who have failed the exam on why. The current management of the exam process has been appalling. It is as if the Fed Govt wants to cull out advisers, not assist advisers in seeking educational assistance to fill in any knowledge gaps. The result is is simply making it harder to for the average consumer to gain access to advice. Yet another example of the gross incompetence of this Federal Cabinet.

You are correct. The industry by & large don't disagree with the principle of an exam, it's the APPALLING administration of this by FASEA. Lack of adequate sitting opportunities given the limited time to sit and the exclusion period between sittings, lack of transparency of the marking process and lack of feedback to advisers who did fail. Even those that passed, they'd like to see their result to assess their own self-belief in their own exam performance. If it was any other government body, there'd be a parliamentary inquiry into their performance. Even Minister Hume says they are "independent" and how they manage their legislative responsibilities is up to them. An appalling lacks of ethical treatment of advisers.

I'm growing tired of the Coalition Cabinet Ministers buck passing to the "independent" bodies & regulators they have set up, and never take any responsibility for anything. Incredible incompetence at a Ministerial level. They deserve the boot, but Labor would be even worse.

I have passed the FASEA exam in December and only have 4 subjects to complete to meet the legislative education requirements. Can I see myself working as a planner over the next 2 to five years and the answer is probably not as there is too much reguation and compliance burden which takes away my enjoyment of assisting clients. I think you will find that the FASEA exam will remain and a lot of advisers will not be here come end of this year or come extension time should it pass into legislation. If I am thinking that the compliance burden is to much and am able to remain in this profession how many other qualified advisers are thinking the same.

I passed the exam too and you have hit the nail on the head. I won't go into my qualifications and background, suffice to say I know what I am doing and almost 20 years ago we built a fee for service, client focused business that in our own way had implemented many of these regulatory requirements even before they were "a thing". I could have made a lot more money by just going with the flow, but my primary motivation is helping people - it's why I get out of bed in the morning. These idiotic, unaccountable regulators, with their one-size-fits-all" bullshit have taken all of the enjoyment out of a profession that people need more than ever.

I am in the same boat and currently considering whether or not I will sell my practice and exit or stay. The enjoyment is simply not there anymore and my passion has been drained!

most competent and ethical advisers are looking to exit and just biding their time for the very same reasons you have mentioned. I already have a master's in financial planning and have passed the exam, just waiting for the right opportunity to exit as I am sure thousands of others like me are doing.

it would be insane not to think about exiting.

Same boat.

"have only 4 subjects" takes time and they are not bludge subjects. will take you a year to do.

Good point Gabby, it's not the exam, it's that the added compliance/file noting/ several extra layers of thinking about whether you've met/breached standards, that have taken the enjoyment from the career. It still remains profitable however or should for a reasonable business. I find it interesting that nowhere mentioned is what is a reasonable profit to expect, what is ethical. And that profit should be after a decent salary. given the onerous qualifications and expertise in legislation required, I believe that base salary is now around $160K, and that means many businesses profit margins have fallen. I think profit margins need to be sustainable at a minimum of 25% to be anywhere near worth the risks taken, my 2 bobs anyway.

If the FPA had any guts it would organise a boycott of the ASIC industry levy. It really is time for the industry to stand up to this nonsense.

Totally agree. The compliance burden is overwhelming with no help from the regulators whatsoever, just an exorbitant levy that doubled every year. Waste of time and money.

Yes, or at least demand from the Lib Gov an enquiry into it, how it is calculated, where the funds actually go and why any penalty payments in favour of ASIC are then passed to lefty mobs like Choice etc, and not used to offset the levy.

Boycott the exam and you will end up out the industry. In case you haven't noticed there is zero sympathy for us amongst the politicians. And no political capital to be gained for them. So go to the TAL Masterclass, do the Kaplan practice exam twice, get the Kaplan Ethics course behind you and you'll be fine.

I empathise fully with the other respondents but Commercial is right. The libs almost lost the last election for deferring the RC. They only survived through Bill Shorten's masterful shooting himself in the foot franking credits policy. Labor is in bed with the industry funds.

We have no political friends.

No-one will risk their political capital as we are part of the evil banking institutions. The fact is that I and most other advisers actually are not is a nuance the media is not willing to recognise.

You can protest all you like, I think in the end you will only hurt yourself.

The sun will shine again, you just need to be still standing in 3-5 years time.

All the best to all of you.

We the People's Front of Judea, brackets, officials, end brackets, do hereby convey our sincere fraternal and sisterly greetings to you.

Perhaps it is all over the top and unnecessary but they are the rules and you dont change them half way through.
For me the best way through this is if you want to stay and build on what you have, do the exam - its not that hard really - and do what you have to do to meet the education requirements. Stop winging and prove to the public at large that we are professional and worthy of their trust. Only then can we justifiably lobby and push for real change that helps our businesses and clients. Whether we like it or not we are collectively paying for our history and the sins of the past. Our future really is in our hands even though at the moment it might not look like it.

And for those of us who have taken the initiative to do FASEA? Stop the whingeing and just do it.

So true - it's not hard. If they are such professionals and so great at their job, the study is minimal. I sat the exam last September and passed it. I did very minimal study as my recent study towards the qualifications requirement covered off on it. It is those among us who are complaining about everything that just need to put up or shut up.

Sensible observation

dickhedware have you passed the fasea exam or have a grad dip or higher?

Trying to pass the exam are you? Want some help do you? Sorry but the good ones have already passed the exam.

hi dickhedware

you wish pal. I and one of the best. I already have an m.fin plan amongst many other tertiary degrees and qualifications and already passed the fasea exam.

so, what about you dickhedware?

Excellent news on your education progression. Sincerely meant.

there is no way you are any good. i have read your stupid posts.

Alex Vagliviello, you are spot on. About time someone in your position spoke out. I can only support you from my end. The FPA have done nothing. This exam means nothing but has the ability to end careers. 20 years as a professional gone down the tubes if this exam is not passed. I've sat the exam and couldn't finish it in time. I left out 10 questions so of course I failed. At my age I don't want to fight against time and trying to find things online. It took me by surprise that I couldn't finish but I can;t speak to anyone about it. Keep at it Alex. cheers mate

he makes valid points..but boycotting is not the answer, particularly if none of these issues were raised before. Just beat the system. Its only harsh for those who fail and have too much on their plate.

We need people and associations to have the balls to stand up to FASEA. An exam written by academics and people with PHD‘s. Vague, poorly written questions. People who don’t have the appropriate adviser qualifications and have hardly work in the advice world. An exam that is written to fail as many advisers as possible. FASEA is a joke. How you can only resist an exam 3 months later but the sittings are every 2 months. So technically you have to wait 4 months. Thanks for helping advisers.....not. You are there to crucify them instead.

The sooner the clowns like Alex and his mates are out of the industry, the better everyone will be. Advisers like Alex have NO friends in parliament, the regulators or the genertal public.

Obviously this exam is written by academicians without any experience. In what way it is going to help. The whole FASEA exam is a joke. I support advisers who are boycotting FASEA exam. I worked as a Financial Planner for the last 25 years. Without ethical values no one can survive for this long. This exam is introduced to create more unemployment. Passing this exam is luck and chance. Whole exam is based on guess work.

Couldn't agree more. The exam is a joke. The questions are designed to trick you. It 100% guess work and based on luck and chance. I 100% agree that the exam should be boycotted, question is will it happen? Also the sitting re-sitting arrangement is ridiculous, All FASEA need to do is, get off their backside, mark the exams quicker and let failed candidates re-sit the next sitting and not have to wait-out the next sitting. I'm sure a lot of us have sat many exams in the past, but none compares to this. FASEA is a money making machine, interestingly why does the exam pass rate drop consistently, because they want an income stream from failed candidates. Pass rates should increase not decrease. But i guess we will never know, as FASEA will not disclose any information, which mind you is information that every candidate should know (if you pass, how much by and if you fail, how much by). Its just appalling

Hi Anon.

If the exam is based purely on luck and chance then one might expect an average pas rate to date of around 50%. The law of probabilities dictates that any game with a binary Yes / No outcome will result in a 50% yes and 50% no. The old toss the coin example.
Those that have passed the exam to date comprise about 83% of those who have written. So clearly they have some skill.

The lower recent pass rate may be due a to a few factors. It was entirely online,. Advisers may have been under pressure dealing with client requirements through COVID,
Or, as time goes by, those advisers with lesser qualifications and or less experience - who have delayed taking the exam are now coming to the fore. If so, the pass rate may continue to fall.
For those left standing - about 50% by the end of next year - the upside is huge.

Thanks for all the feedback very enlightening. And I would like to reiterate to those that have passed and feel I am whinging I think you have missed the point. first off congratulations that is wonderful but try and understand that not everyone has the time or necessarily the aptitude to sit an exam that in my opinion is not really about improving my advice for my clients. I am wholly committed to my clients and as such they take precedence. Good luck to everyone who has yet to pass and thank you for taking the time to put forward your valued opinion. Have a great day cheers

Given your suggestion that passing an exam is not necessary for people without exam passing aptitude, then you would be okay in being treated by a doctor, nurse, dentist, etc who also did not have the aptitude to sit their exams.

what qualifies you to offer an opinion on financial planning services. you are unqualified

I have had enough. I have been in this industry for 35 years and seen it slowly but surely disintegrate, due to greed of the big end of town. They sell out and move on. Execs still get bonuses and we shrivel on the vine. No more - I am getting out asap.

I agree 1000% with the reasoning to boycott, but unfortunately its too late for this now. Financial Advisers are hated by politicians, and do not expect any favours from them in the future.

an exam which takes 3 and a half hours to complete, with only 5 or so written answers then takes 6 weeks to mark? and 'passing' this alone - not your experience or qualifications - will decide whether you continue in this industry is a joke. not knowing why you fail? or any assistance on where to study for the next time around? for advisers who have built quality businesses - with no complaints and positive ongoing audits - this will prove too much and the only ones who will lose out are the clients. the last ones standing will have the ability to charge what they like, as there will be no one left to assist. the worst part is the FPA & AFA for not having the balls to stand up when needed - shame on them all.

I do need to respond to one person "Hedware" I think you have totally misconstrued my reasoning. I am not saying no exam however I do question how pertinent it is to what we do as it is set out but I accept it has to be done but I do question why there is no feedback as to marks, opportunity to retake why is there a 3 month lag, it is a costly exercise so everyone wants to pass but if they fail this time constraint has massive repercussions. Ie if you can't take the exam due to work commitments until August if you fail then you can't retake it so come 1st of January you are no longer able to trade. From my standpoint there is no logic as not everyone passes first time as they may not be experienced with exam taking. One exam a good planner doth not make - a good planner is one who has good ethics, a good technical team to access information, cares about their clients and ensures they focus on "Best Interests". An exam such as FASEA to me does not indicate to me a good planner it just indicates that someone is good at retention and studying. cheers

Yes I agree that there do seem to be some hoops to go through. Maybe it is because the whole thing is new, underfunded or understaffed. FASEA has said it has given transparency to the processes but maybe not sufficient. But then there would be complainers and whingers whatever FASEA did.

The break between failing an exam and being permitted to sit again gives incentive to pass it exam the first time around. This seems to have worked given the number who have sat the exam and passed - over 80%. (It could be alleged that the exam is too easy and a pass mark set at 60 is more in line with other post-graduate courses for professional qualifications.) Other professional courses have similar if not longer periods between sitting for exams. This is about professional qualifications and not undergraduate stuff.

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