Completing their educational requirements remains the top focus for advisers going into 2022, according to BT.
From looking at topics raised with BT by its advisers, completing the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam, which was now run by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, was the top focus.
The deadline to pass the exam had been extended until 30 September, 2022, giving advisers who had previously failed twice, an extra nine months to pass.
Bryan Ashenden, BT’s head of literacy and advocacy, said: “The implication, based on current law, is that these advisers will have been removed from the Financial Adviser Register as at 1 January, 2022, and will no longer be able to provide personal advice to a retail client.
“It’s important to point out that they can still provide advice to wholesale clients, and help with running successful financial planning practices. Furthermore, whilst they cannot be the supervisor of a new entrant undertaking their professional year, they can still act as a mentor – and so advice practices can still benefit from these advisers’ experience and expertise.”
Similarly, advisers were also asking about FASEA and Standard 3 of the code of ethics and whether the wording of this conflict of interest standard would change following a consultation.
Following this, other common queries included reviewing client advice to assess the impact of the removal of the work test for non-concessional contributions for clients between ages 67 and 74, revisiting strategies related to the lowering of age for downsizer contributions and regulatory developments relating to exiting certain complying income streams. This last point was particularly relevant for advisers who had clients with self-managed superannuation funds.
“Another opportunity advisers are asking about is the 2021 Budget announcement about the ability to exit certain complying income streams. Unfortunately, this measure was not included in the bill recently introduced into Parliament, so advisers will have to wait a bit longer to know the exact details of how this will work. It is expected to take effect from 1 July 2022,” Ashenden said.
“For certain clients, particularly those in a self-managed super fund [SMSF], this could provide a great opportunity to exit out of income streams that had been established for life, especially where the members have only stayed in the SMSF because they had no way to exit the income stream product. This could result in some pensioners finally being able to exit and close down their SMSF if it is no longer the most suitable retirement product for them.”