Could ASIC grant class order relief on the FASEA exam?

14 May 2020

As a Parliamentary stalemate developed around passage of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam extension legislation, questions were being asked about whether the Government would back the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) delivering class order relief to affected advisers.

Industry spokesmen including Financial Planning Association (FPA) chief executive, Dante De Gori, have questioned whether the Government could allow ASIC to deliver the class order relief to advisers in the same fashion it had done so for advisers with respect to the requirement to be a member of a code-monitoring organisation.

De Gori said that the whole exercise around the passage of the legislation through the Senate had become entirely frustrating in circumstances where both the Government and the Federal Opposition had reassured his organisation and the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) that they would be supporting the FASEA exam extension legislation.

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However, the exam extension legislation is not a piece of stand-alone legislation but, rather, part of an omnibus bill elements of which the Opposition has said it wants to debate.

There is no certainty about the ability of ASIC to deliver on class order relief with respect to the exam extension, and FASEA chief executive, Stephen Glenfield, made clear to a Money Management forum last year that the authority’s hands were tied on the exam time-table in the absence of amending legislation.

De Gori told Money Management that in the absence of the major parties seeing sense on the issue in the Senate today (Thursday) it was likely to be many weeks before the matter could be dealt with again.

That means that a lot of planners are going to have to make some hard decisions about how and when they are going to sit the FASEA exam in the limited time that may be left.

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Maybe a short time frame is what is needed? The lazy advisers who haven't bothered (apologies to the small cohort who have suffered some extenuating circumstances) may need a little kick up the bum to get it done. I say ASIC should develop a list of special circumstances, which allows limited dispensation, and FASEA should drop the nonsense waiting period to re-enrol. That would give the belligerent advisers 4 opportunities to get it done, and while they will grumble about it, I think they will be happy to go into 2021 with the exam behind them and as a profession we can move on to far more important matters (hint: for those yet to do the exam, when you fully get your head around the code of ethics, you will realise worrying about the exam is like patching up a small crack in your wall while a wrecking ball is swinging towards your home. Those who have passed realise this, which is why we are fed up with lame excuses and precious political capital being wasted on this issue)

You are an interesting personality Jamberoo.
Highly concerning, dangerous and narcissistic.
One can only assume your lack of empathy and consideration serves you well in life.

True professionals are generally humble people and don't make derogatory comments in public about their peers, whether called for or not. If Jamberoo and others on here claiming that they are "professionals" all because they went early and sat the exam, then it might be time to enroll or re-sit the Ethic's bridging course or start observing how true professionals conduct themselves in their daily lives and you will quickly see that your comments and attitudes are not consistent with that of a professional. I fail to see how financial planning can ever be viewed as a profession if this is what the self-claimed financial planning professional looks like!

Tell that to the advisers that live out in the country with family commitments sick parents that have to travel 8 hours to do a test.

Should be hard advisers were told 2 years to complete and have planned for. The ethics body didn't deliver on time when they said they would leaving a smaller window to complete, only 30% of all the financial planners in the country have passed this will lead to worst outcomes for clients when they need to be dealing with clients.

Get off your high horse because you have passed the exam, you should be advocating for all planners to get what they were promised in the first place 2 years to complete the exam. You are also forgetting the many exams were also cancelled last minute at the start of the year.

Hey lol, that's me. Long drive into a City. Long drive back too...all in one day. Pretty tired by the end. Sitting there doing an exam whilst listening to noises of a City was friggen off putting. Everytime a siren went I freaked out. I would have loved to have done it via Proctor. To quote another "Professionals find a way, they make sacrifices of time, family, work". Perhaps maybe you're just trying to find an excuse.

And Douglas, as a professional, you would agree that degrading your peers is not consistent with how true professionals behave. Whilst I agree that commitment is a key attribute, so is being humble, courteous and not making assumptions about others in the absence of all of the facts. You would understand the importance of the last bit of this, being a financial planner advising clients.

I have it done mate, however but I also care about how financial planners are treated as a whole group. If you promise to give 2 years to complete something they should keep their word, they also promised feed back on exams which they haven't. How are the planners meant to know what they got wrong in order to study no exam in the world doesn't show you the answers you got wrong none.

But I agree people will find a way.

I don't disagree with your view Jamberoo. It's the 3 month exclusion period between exam sittings that's the biggest problem facing advisers, and also the 6 weeks it takes for FASEA to get the results to advisers. Scrap the exclusion period; have monthly exam sittings (achievable via the Procotoring option); get FASEA to cut down the marking period to 4 weeks (every other institution seems to be able to do this) and get ASIC to do a Class order for an extension period of 6 months into 2021 - this is fair as after all, advisers weren't able to sit the 1st exam until June 2019, some 6 months into the transition period.

Perfect solution all round. If only FASEA had someone like you working for them Edward!

Thank you. And everyone would be "happy."

How do you sit an exam that is still limited to exam sitting dates and only offered via remote proctoring at present under the same limited sitting date policy?? When I sat via remote proctoring after my April venue sitting was cancelled the dates via remote proctoring were still the same?

Or those that are focussed on implementing and adapting the COE into their business may need a bit more time to roll it out before extricating themselves from their service delivery to their fee paying customers, at the time they are needed the most. But sure whatever floats your boat there hero.

The China 19 virus really shouldn't be the reason for the extension. I have refused to do the exam for as long as possible because the whole basis used to enforce it on us...was a lie. So hell yeah I should get an extension.But it should be because the exam is a farce...but I'll take the China 19 virus as an excuse for it. If jamberoo decided to do the exam early, and now it gets delayed...then that's his/her fault. If it doesnt get extended...then that's my fault. Deal with it.

Obviously the economic downturn has not affected the union marketing budget for paid internet trolls. It is blatantly obvious that Jamberoo is not a financial adviser, but rather a bitter twisted thug. What will you do when you lose your job as the Industry Super Fund ponzi scheme comes crashing down over the next three years? You won't get any sympathy from me. I will be watching it unfold with glee.

If ASIC could give class order relief it would actually make more sense than the extension proposal anyway. The original legislation was intended to allow a 2 year period for advisers to complete the exam. But FASEA didn't become functional until about 6 months after that legislation was passed. If ASIC gave class order relief for 6 months on all FASEA requirements, this would compensate for the FASEA setup delay problem, and be consistent with the spirit of the original legislation.

What a joke. How can we be in such a poor position that you need legislation approved by two house of parliament to move an exam cut off date. Does this not demonstrate the total unworkable situation of financial advice in this country. The band aid approach by the current government, Treasury and supported by ASIC has been the most damaging on the public ability to seek financial advice. We hear every day about acting in the clients best interest. However these government people's "political solution" is the the art government incompetence.

If we tested them to act in the public best interest I would have thought that if the cost of financial advice is not affordable, how can this be in the public best interest. Yet ASIC, FASEA, AFIC drive the cost of advice higher and higher with no consideration about the impact of their decisions. Our government has failed us on all levels in financial advice. It is time to stop bandaid "political solutions" by Treasury and ASIC.

All financial advice associations, SMSFA, AFA, FPA, CA should stop debating Bandaid rule changes and get together to demand a Rewrite chapter 6 & 7 of the Corps act to remove inconsistency, duplication, clarify and drive efficiency in financial advice at the client level with the goal of reducing cost to the client seeking advice and then effective regulation that does not stop advice to the people.

When is there going to be some structured debate and pressure applied to Regulators and Government from our Industry, this is too little and way too late. I've done the exam (and it wasn't easy) and the Ethics Course, and I still have 6 subjects to go, yet I've been advising for over 30 years.(its just plain stupid) I feel for the many thousands of Advisers out there who are focusing on their clients, their businesses, their staff and their family - trying to have a life. I'm sick and tired of a few "self entitled" people who make comments about "lazy or belligerent Advisers" who haven't bothered to do the exam yet? We are supposed to supporting each other and fighting for what we need as Advisers instead of throwing daggers at each other. We are a minority and have been beaten around by Governments and Regulators, unfortunately the horse has bolted long ago, but I support those Advisers who are struggling to get the exam done, who are concerned about passing and those that still have to go back to school to tick a box for a regulation.

You've captured it all in one!

As an interim step is there anything (apart from their own incompetence) that is stopping FASEA from increasing the exam sitting availability, either via remote proctoring now or sitting days? I am still at a loss to understand, why, in light of the unprecedented disruption caused by Covid-19, FASEA seem to so stubbornly stick to the exam schedule that was announced last year. Surely this would be the logical step to help those advisers that genuinely want to get this exam out of the way, but have been prevented by reasons other than being simply slack!

FASEA CEO Glenfield needs to spend less time slagging off advisers on the ABC, and more time addressing the chronic incompetence and inefficiency in his own organisation.

I was unable to sit my scheduled April exam due to unstable NBN and the rescheduled June exam. I contacted Acer to ask if they would consider holding the June exam in July and they told me they couldn't hold the exams at any other time than listed on the FASEA website. I then contacted FASEA with the same request and they told me they can only do the exams stated in the Exam Standard Legislative and these have already been scheduled.

I was unable to sit my scheduled April exam due to unstable NBN and the rescheduled June exam. I contacted Acer to ask if they would consider holding the June exam in July and they told me they couldn't hold the exams at any other time than listed on the FASEA website. I then contacted FASEA with the same request and they told me they can only do the exams stated in the Exam Standard Legislative and these have already been scheduled.

Hi Kathryn, I was in the same boat as I know many advisers are (in Hobart). My NBN issue has been resolved now with a new NBN box (fingers crossed) and I will sit remotely via proctoring in June as well. I was a bit alarmed when FASEA and ACER told me that they will not be changing/adding any sitting venues despite those venues having been cancelled due to Covid-19. Best of luck with your exam...I'm sure you want it out of the way as much as the rest of us!

Katherine. What you have been advised by FASEA is totally misleading. The FASEA Exam LI does not specify when the exams are to be scheduled. The LI specifies the conditions of eligibility to sit the exam including "the person has not sat an exam within 3 months before registering for the exam.". There are NO legislative limitations on how many times FASEA can schedule the exam. Further, "technically" FASEA have gone outside the parameters of the LI by offering the Remote proctoring option, as the LI states: "(5) Unless subsection 10(19) applies, an exam must be completed using a computer provided by the exam administrator. The computer must give electronic access to statutory materials and materials published by ASIC and other relevant regulators, as specified by the Authority." The withdrawal of exam facilities by the exam administrator are not covered by the alternative arrangements under 10(19) "alternative arrangements". Further "The alternative arrangements must ensure that the candidate sits the exam in similar circumstances, and subject to similar conditions and requirements, as other candidates." It could well be argued that being forced to sit via the Remote Proctoring option, including for example, without the option to use the toilet during the exam sitting, could contravene the conditions that prior candidates who sat the exam were under at the time (i.e. before COVID-19).

It seems the majority of respondents who are opposed to the FASEA exam extension are advisers who have already completed and passed the exam...why would this be ?
Just because they have completed and passed the exam doesn't give them the right to either criticise those who have yet to complete it and to denigrate them as being lazy, recalcitrant, incompetent or unprofessional.
This is no different to those same people criticising someone who had failed the exam on the first sitting as being incompetent or sub standard.
There is a vitriolic and narcissistic attitude from some advisers who currently believe they are ahead of the pack and a superior person simply because they have completed and passed an exam, much of which the content is irrelevant in day to day and real world provision of advice.
At the end of the day, isn't it beneficial to all top have as many advisers pass the exam in a fair and equitable time frame as possible?
Having a percentage of advisers that may not pass the exam before the end of 2021 is not going to adversely affect those who have currently passed it or are planning to complete it before the ed of why the nasty, vitriolic and narcissistic attitude?

I think the issue here, is pretty simple. We have a diabolical situation with the unworkable Code of Ethics and insane draft legislation regarding the 12 month opt-in requirements. Yet instead of these issues being discussed with politicians, time is being wasted on this issue, which is a bloody long way down the list of problems facing advisers at the moment.

Dear all, I tend to believe the real (but hidden) intent of all the FASEA and other changes is to make personal financial advice difficult. To some influential people financial advice is seen as unnecessary, and theretore to be limited to those who are rich. If my belief is correct - Give up wishing for easing on any conditions. Covid19 is just a good excuse to make things more difficult....

Both sides of politics have vested interests in stopping Australians from accessing professional advice. Labor wants uninformed consumers to channel as much money as possible into union super funds. Liberal wants uninformed consumers to channel as much money as possible into real estate.

It does make you wonder.

The exam sitting dates are a total red herring. Do a prep course, and ridiculous as it is, just sit the the damn thing. There are far bigger battles to fight, the most important of which is holding ASIC to account and making sure they stick to their mandate absent regulatory creep.

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