FASEA January exam saw underperformance in all areas

Analysis from the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) has highlighted problem areas from the January exam which has seen the lowest pass rate of the 10 exams so far.

FASEA announced a pass rate of 67% for the January exam, which included a 46% pass rate for re-sitters.

The exam tested three areas: financial advice regulatory and legal obligations, applied ethical and professional reasoning and communication, and financial advice construction.

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In financial advice regulatory and legal obligations, candidates underperformed with:

  • Demonstrating an understanding of different types of advice (e.g. personal advice, general advice and factual information) and how they applied to different client scenarios;
  • Demonstrating knowledge of the components of key advice documentation that is provided to the client i.e. financial services guide (FSG)/statement of advice (SoA); and
  • Applying relevant sections of the Corporations Act when identifying responsible provider obligations, including breaches of those obligations.

In applied ethical and professional reasoning and communication, candidates underperformed with:

  • Demonstrating a practical application of due diligence in financial advice;
  • Identifying sources of judgement and biases, and their influence on financial advice;
  • Applying best interest duty and associated ethical obligations when providing financial advice; and
  • Effectively applying the FASEA code to client various scenarios.

In financial advice construction, candidates underperformed with:

  • Demonstrating an understanding of the context in which financial advice was given and requested, and how this impacts decision making.

Existing advisers had until 31 December, 2021, to pass the exam and there were five more sittings available.

Over 2,300 advisers had booked for the March exam which would be held on 25 to 30 March, which had closed registrations.

Over 800 advisers had booked for the May exam which would be held on 20 to 25 May; registrations for that exam were open until 30 April.

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I see FASEA are still refusing to publish the pass mark, which is disgraceful for an exam that will end careers. Saying it is marked to a 'credit standard' means nothing, as the definition of a credit varies widely from one teaching institution to another. Why are they keeping it a secret? Are they manipulating the results to achieve a predetermined goldilocks outcome, where FASEA appears tough but, still reasonable at the same time. The concept of double-banger true/false questions, where you don't get a mark unless you answer both correctly really bothers me. This is highly unethical behaviour, clearly designed to lower the results. Ditto for having to pass all three sections, even though the exam itself is not divided into 3 sections, so in the heat of the exam, you have no idea which questions belong to each section. You could ace two out of three, but fall just shy of the unpublished mark necessary for one section, and bang you've failed. For an organisation which was created to oversee ethics in financial advice, it is unthinkable that they would act in such an unethical and manipulative manner, with zero transparency. The exam I completed (and passed thank god) was littered with ambiguous questions, which showed a clear lack of experience and understanding from the person who wrote the questions. Where is the quality control? I will be celebrating 30th June when this rotten orgsanisation is wound up. I had high hopes for FASEA and the rising professional standards. But they were shattered with every single press release from this defunct embarrassment of an organisation. I hope this is a smear on the CV of each of the directors and their monumental failure is not forgotten.

What you are complaining about is the bog-standard practice in most higher education institutions for their professional-related assessments. It is disappointing that you think financial advisors are not up to being tested and qualified in the same manner as other professional groups. The professional quality of those financial advisors who pass these exams should not be compromised by free riders wanting and needing lower pass rates.

The subject areas that were underperformed are disappointing, but still financial advisors made a better showing than the Bell&Potter stockbrokers who could not pass the ethical component of the examination.

How hard is it to say the pass mark is x%? Why keep it secret? Why have a different pass mark for each test, which is what FASEA suggests happens, although we don't really know because the pass mark for each sitting is hidden from the public. Why not give half a hark for each true/false question correctly answered, rather than artificially reducing the score by only awarding a mark if two consecutive true/false questions are answered correctly? Why mark 3 sections separately, and then force the advisers to resit the whole lot if they only failed one of the 3 sections? Why isn't there a panel of financial advisers checking the questions to ensure quality control, instead of ridiculous ambiguous questions, written by academics without a clue? Look I passed the thing back in 2019 on my first attempt, so this doesn't affect me. But what infuriates me, is the unethical way FASEA have gone about things and the mental toll this is having on my colleagues. I have friends who have left the industry. They are good, honest, knowledgeable people, who gave great advice. Consumers are the losers and I've had a gutful of FASEA not being held to account for their behaviour. I guess they are being wound up, so that is something. But the minister has been pussyfooting around thanking them for their work, when in fact FASEA was a complete disaster and a great disappointment to those of us who wanted to see FASEA raise professional standards and become the beacon of light it could and should have been.

Its not bog-standard to not give exam results and show how an exam was marked on a university exam .
Markers can it wrong what FASEA are doing is rotten not transparent or some would say not acting in good faith why can't they show the results because they are changing the marks every exam....

Did you know that under the score principal adopted by fasea you could fail in an exam ,
and that same mark you got to fail, would be a pass in another exam based on the averaging marking principal, any wonder they dont give us scores. Method in the madness.

Well said Giggity ,yes they did deceive us with the pre fasea webinar, they were very defencive with there answers to any questions also in the question time after webinar, any wonder.

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