Once the responsibilities of the Financial Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) are transferred to the minister and the corporate regulator, the framework and guidelines need an overhaul to remove duplication and include technical development.
In a submission to the Government’s Better Advice Bill, the SMSF Association said FASEA needed an “urgent” review of several legislative instruments which needed a “proper” consultation process with key stakeholders and industry. This, it said, was lacking in the original development.
“Concerns are held on the suitability of the current professional development requirements which are lacking in technical development,” the submission said.
The SMSF Association pointed to the current FASEA prescribed continuing professional development (CPD) standard and said this needed urgent review and that the shift in the regulation of tax financial advice to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) drove this imperative.
“Similarly, the professional year standards require review, to ensure that the appropriate technical components are addressed, including taxation now that the advisers are being removed from the Tax Practitioners Board and Tax Agent Services Act 2009 purview,” the SMSF Association said.
“In addition, the current education standards and approved courses and degrees refer to Tax Practitioner Board approved courses in commercial and taxation law.
“This relationship will cease on the winding up and transfer of FASEA functions and the transfer of tax financial advisers out of the Tax Practitioners Board purview.”
The SMSF Association noted the Better Advice Bill proposal also allowed the minister to make legislative instruments for relevant providers (advisers) who provided tax (financial) advice services. There was a requirement for the adviser to have completed a specified degree, qualification, or course, undertaken specified work and training, and ongoing professional development.
“This is a duplication of existing education and training standards in s.921B(2) along with the work already undertaken by FASEA in approving various degrees and courses. The FASEA education standards require the completion of taxation subjects. These include taxation law, finance and business law subjects as defined by the Tax Practitioners Board.
“…A review of what is the current FASEA continuing professional development standard will be essential to ensure that taxation is properly and separately considered. A robust CPD standard will ensure that the appropriate standards are upheld.”