While the now-defunct Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) was aware of mental health issues in the financial advice industry, it did not monitor the number of affected advisers or have the “power” to exempt an adviser from sitting the exam.
In an answer to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee questions on notice, FASEA said it was aware of mental health issues in the industry and the research into adviser wellbeing.
However, when asked what actions it had taken when it was aware an adviser was experiencing mental health issues and might be at risk of self-harm, FASEA said its role was to administer the exam.
“FASEA’s role under the act is to administer the exam, as required by legislation. FASEA has no power to exempt an adviser from sitting the exam, nor to provide counselling services,” it said.
“Where FASEA becomes aware of an adviser experiencing mental health issues FASEA refers them to their licensee or industry association to provide appropriate support.
“FASEA is not funded nor staffed to provide counselling to advisers. Where FASEA becomes aware of an adviser experiencing mental health issues FASEA refers them to their licensee or industry association to provide appropriate support.”
When asked if it tracked the number of advisers who might be deemed to be experiencing mental health complications, the entity said “no”.