Class order relief delivered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) may be the last hope for delivering financial advisers an extension of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam timetable if the necessary legislation stalls in the Senate again.
At the same time, there have been warnings that the continuing uncertainty around the exam timetable is not only impacting adviser morale but also practice valuation.
The FASEA exam timetable extension is part of an omnibus bill passage of which has been stymied by unassociated Federal Opposition and cross-bench amendments in the Senate which the Government has either partially accommodated or decided to reject.
While industry lobbyists were given to understand that One Nation would be pivotal in shifting its support to the Government ensuring passage of the legislation on Tuesday, the bill was again stymied when the Senate again insisted on retaining amendments put forward by South Australian cross-bencher, Senator Rex Patrick.
The Government has one more opportunity to see the bill passed in the Senate before it goes into limbo with One Nation senators still regarded as pivotal. The bill was sent back to the Senate late yesterday and is due to be debated this morning.
Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) chief executive, Phil Kewin expressed his disappointment that the while the FASEA exam extension legislation clearly had the support of all parties it was being stymied by other processes associated with the omnibus bill.
“We will hope that progress will be made when it again comes before the Senate,” he said noting that time was running out for financial advisers in circumstances where only around 30% of advisers have sat and passed the FASEA exam with around another 50% enrolled to sit it before the end of the year.
At the same time, financial advice business broker, Paul Tynan acknowledged that the uncertainty around the exam time-table extension was having an impact on business valuations particularly for older advisers whose strategy involved passing the exam and then exiting the industry before degree-equivalent qualifications became mandatory no later than 1 January, 2024.
He said there was no question that the uncertainty was factoring in, alongside the impact of annual renewals with the result that prices were being placed under pressure.