Candidates react to ‘tough’ new advice exam structure

financial adviser examination exam ASIC professional year graduate

3 April 2024
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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With the first financial adviser exam of the year held last week, candidates who sat the exam have described it “tough” despite being all multiple-choice questions under a new format.

On 26 March, candidates sat the first adviser exam of 2024. ASIC previously delayed the date from 15 February to allow for the implementation of legislative amendments first announced in December.

Namely, last week’s test saw the removal of short answer questions from the exam, leaving only multiple-choice questions. The requirement that only provisional relevant providers and existing advisers could sit the exam was also removed.

Speaking with Money Management, Rachel Hubbard, financial planning assistant and PY candidate at IPS Wealth Management, shared her experience completing the new exam.

“I found it pretty tough and I have no idea how I went. A lot of the questions I wasn’t sure if my answer was right or not. Hopefully the results get released soon, as I’ll be interested to see what the pass rate was,” she said.

Joel Ronchi, chief executive of risk management and compliance system Fourth Line, also received feedback from several candidates who sat the exam.

“It was tough and intense but fair,” one individual said, while another found that a bulk of the test related to the code of ethics’ standards and values section.

There were 84 questions in total, according to one candidate, with the majority being multiple-choice alongside a few true/false questions.

“We had to use our judgement rather than specifically referring to any code/law,” another individual told Ronchi.

However, the CEO noted: “This doesn’t mean the next exam in June will be structured the same. Also, different candidates may get different questions in the same exam sitting, so the experience noted above may vary across candidates.

“What it does mean is that you need to be prepared for all contingencies as you never know what kind of exam you’ll be walking into.”

Matthew Farley, a freelance compliance coach, also sat the exam for the first time.

“With the changes that have been made, I have questions: Why, if the exam is online and multiple-choice, the guidance still says it takes four to five weeks for results? As the exam is online and multiple choice now (removing the short answers), why does it still cost $1,500?” he questioned on LinkedIn.

Farley joins the collective push from the advice industry to see a reduction in the fee to sit the exam. Earlier this year, both the Financial Advice Association Australia and the Stockbrokers and Investment Advisers Association called for a fee decrease.

He added: “The financial planning industry is being hit from all corners at the moment and it appears that there are no concessions being made from the government to reduce regulatory costs which in turn will affect the cost of advice to clients.”

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