The Association of Financial Advisers (AFA), Financial Planners Association of Australia (FPA) and the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) have all welcomed the extension of the FASEA exam and education deadlines, which passed the Senate on Wednesday.
The bill had passed both houses and changed the Corporations Act to provide a 12-month extension of the exam deadline to 1 January, 2022, and a 24-month extension to the education standard to 1 January, 2026.
It was passed in the Senate without amendment, which Rex Patrick of the Centre Alliance Party had asked for.
Philip Kewin, AFA chief executive, said the passing of the bill allowed advisers to continue to focus on the immediate needs of their clients, who still faced the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Financial advisers will now be able to operate with certainty in planning for successfully passing the exam before the end of 2021 and the completion of their education requirements by the end of 2025,” Kewin said.
“We thank the minister, Senator Jane Hume, for putting up the bill to enable the extensions to the deadlines, and the ALP and the minor parties for their support of the bill.”
Dante De Gori, FPA chief executive, said they were pleased that financial planners now had more flexibility to complete their study.
“This bill is a lifeline for financial planners across Australia and will grant them the necessary extension to complete new education requirements at a time when they are out in our communities providing advice to Australians during COVID-19,” De Gori said.
“[The] announcement will provide some relief to planners who are struggling to support not only existing clients but also providing the broader community with advice as many Australians find themselves in a financial situation they have never experienced before.”
Stephen Glenfield, FASEA chief executive, said the organisation welcomed the result and noted the strong performance of advisers who had already passed the exam and commenced studies.
“It is encouraging that there are many advisers who have commenced their education requirements with nearly 3,000 advisers enrolled in bridging courses and over 6,500 individual bachelor or higher degree subjects being undertaken by existing advisers,” Glenfield said.
The bill was previously held up as the Australian Labor Party sought to extend the ban on conflicted remuneration as part of the omnibus bill the extension was included in.