Industry associations have thrown their support behind Labor’s election promise to allow advisers without a university degree but at least 10 years of experience to continue practicing after 2026.
Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) chief executive, Helen Morgan-Banda, told Money Management the AFA welcomed the announcement by Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer Stephen Jones.
“We support the focus that Stephen Jones has placed on advisers being able to continue to service their clients. Should changes to provide better recognition of prior learning (RPL) and experience eventuate, this will make a significant difference in terms of the number of financial advisers who choose to continue to practice through to and beyond 2025,” she said.
“This will be a very good outcome for Australians seeking financial advice, which we warmly welcome.”
Morgan-Banda said recognition of prior learning was a feature of many accreditation programs for professionals wanting to enter or remain in professions and was supported by the explanatory memorandum to the 2017 Professional Standards Bill.
“This is something that FASEA [the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority] has never done despite the AFA and others advocating since 2018 for a mechanism to recognise experience,” she said.
“We will await further details on this proposal and will enthusiastically work with all stakeholders to ensure a sensible outcome is achieved.”
She noted that, if implemented, the promise would not be too late for the industry as there were many advisers who were still considering their future in financial advice.
“We anticipate that there are a few thousand of advisers who will be in this situation,” she said.
“In the context that the declining number of advisers will have a material impact upon access to financial advice, more advisers remaining in the profession will have a big impact on more Australians being able to access advice.”
Similarly, the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) also welcomed the announcement.
FPA chair, Marisa Broome, said: “The FPA welcomes Labor joining this conversation as we believe there are many avenues available for the government to address the educational standards and needs of the profession.
“For many years, the FPA has offered numerous solutions for education authorities to help the profession meet the standards, while allowing for flexibility and recognition of experience. However, these bodies have chosen not to implement these solutions.
“As such, we look forward to seeing further details on this announcement and how it can contribute to our vision for a professional education framework.”