Deakin University has become the first university in the world to offer a financial planning course with professional accreditation for estate planning.
This offered a vital component to the industry that had continued to grow in-line with Australia’s ageing population.
Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Financial Planning was accredited by the leading international body for inheritance and succession planning, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).
Once students started the eight-unit course, they could apply to become an affiliate of STEP, becoming eligible for full membership after completion of their studies.
Adam Steen, professor of practice in the Deakin Business School’s Department of Accounting, said the accreditation had been awarded to Deakin because of the quality of its depth and teaching.
“The accreditation will allow qualifying Deakin graduates to become members of an international community of highly-qualified estate planning professionals,” Steen said.
“It also opens up further professional development opportunities over the course of their career. Estate planning is a massive industry, and the fastest growing area in financial services, particularly with Australia’s ageing population.
“The legislation around estate planning is also constantly changing, hence the need for professionals to engage in continuing education.”
The need for STEP accreditation was due to the skills in law, accounting and financial planning required for estate planning.
Michael Fox, head of the STEP Education Steering Group, said the accreditation provided a pathway to STEP membership for those who provide financial advice.
“The evolution of the financial planning industry in the past few decades to move to more specialist areas such as estate planning is a crucial part in its development to becoming a true profession,” Fox said.
“STEP’s main focus is to promote high professional standards, to provide educational and networking opportunities for its members, and to contribute to debate and public policy in its specialist field.”