FASEA standards don’t adequately recognise previous study

The current educational standards for financial planners, which have been defined by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), need to better recognise previous experience and studies, according to the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA). 

In answering questions during a parliamentary hearing from South Australian Senator, Rex Patrick, the AFA’s acting chief officer, Phil Anderson, said that the explanatory memorandum specifically referred to the ability to recognise experience through continuing professional development (CPD) and other studies that advisers have taken in the past. 

“What we’ve identified though is that the current standard has been defined by FASEA does not adequately recognise experience for previous study and in particular CPD that has been done by financial advisers,” he said. 

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“There is a lot of longer-term financial advisers who are not getting any credit for what they’ve done in the past and are required to do eight graduate diploma subjects,” he said. 

Anderson said that over the years the subject had been raised with the minister, who has currently delegated its powers in that matter to the FASEA, as well as with the FASEA itself through a number of submissions and interactions. 

Speaking on the education standards, chief executive officer of the Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association (SAFAA), Judith Fox, said that according to the legislation the members of her organisations were required to hold a degree equivalent, however FASEA determined that the only degree that would be approved would be that of financial planning. 

“That’s not what legislation requires, the legislation requires a degree equivalent,” she said. 

“So, our concern is that we have highly qualified, highly educated people who come with degrees that are absolutely suitable for our industry, but they are not being approved under FASEA. Our view is that given the legislation requires a degree equivalent we are hoping that the treasury will actually understand that those degrees are the right degrees.” 

Fox said that she agreed that everyone would still have to do ‘an additional unit in ethics’ but if they already started economics, finance, commerce and business, then those degrees from the top universities, which have been approved by the national education regulator, should also be approved. 

“It should not be appropriate for the retail investor that the only degree that is approved is a financial planning one,” Fox stressed. 

Also, she said that given that the FASEA would be wound up and the standard setting would go to Treasury under ministerial authority, it would be the minister to be able to determine the degrees that were suitable for the industry and could be approved. 

“It does not need to go back before parliament because the legislation says a degree equivalent,” she reiterated. 

“Those degrees are suitable for different forms of financial advice and can be approved by the minister and that can be done through the Treasury.” 

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Unfortunately the FASEA education standards have been diverted to generate revenue for conflicted course providers on the FASEA Board, rather than sticking to the regulatory intent. Belatedly disbanding the conflicted rabble that is FASEA is not sufficient action by the government. They also need to correct FASEA's mistakes, and set up an independent corruption inquiry into those Board members who have personally profited from their roles.

Good call Anon!!

The mistake anyone would make is using the concepts of logic, fairness and regulating WITHIN the legislation would apply to the rightfully now defunct FARSEA. ASIC take note!!

In my MASTERS I completed subjects like corporate financial analysis, share market analysis, technical analysis, behavourial finance. All of these were rejected, yet an accounting degree (degree only, not masters) involving tax and audit can pass?? After three years of not knowing if I was qualified to run my own business thankfully I received the green light based on other studies. Not many I fear of my generation will be so fortunate.

Those subjects in your masters qualification would be quite useful for a financial planner and valuable for a client.

The subject that I think should be compulsory is basic economics.

Yes, but before we have to do "basic economics", I think that Hayne, Hume, etc, including ASIC and future government ministers in charge of the financial portfolio etc, should complete it, because what is coming out of the government in our direction lately are legislative changes that don't even address the most basic economic concept of supply and demand. :P

Good point

Fox agrees we should all have to do an ethics course! Really? Even advisers with a masters degree in financial planning and a clean record? No other profession is required to undertake such nonsense. I agree FASEA did the wrong thing by older advisers by ignoring CPD against the direction of the parliamentary inquiry that led to FASEA's formation and the explanatory statement set by the government. But that comment is complete nonsense. Let's face it, the AFA like the FPA, largely exists as cover for financial advisers with no serious qualifications. So once we all have the FASEA approved quals, good riddance.

So clever dick, where did you get your "Masters degree in financial planning"? Griffith? Deakin? UWS? Kaplan? Or some other glorified TAFE?

Until you get a real degree from a real university, please don't lecture others about a lack of serious qualifications.

My beef is with FPA and AFA, not you. But I do have a degree from a top Australian uni, thanks for asking. Big deal. Clients don't care. Soon we will all be in the same boat with FASEA approved quals whatever they are. So why do you care anyway? Are you one of the advisers who used the FPA or AFA to cover for not having a degree, or are you one of the ones with a proper degree who got sucked into joining based on the false notion that they might stand up for our rights and defend our profession against the barrage of defamation and unfair treatment at the hands of government and regulators?

FARSEAcal from the very first FARSEA announcement 3 yrs ago that all previous degrees, DFPs, etc attained more than 10 years prior to FARSEA counted for nothing and all start again from scratch.
Absolute mad arrogance and stupidity.
The same as saying every Dr, Lawyer, Engineer, etc has to restart Uni every 10 years as after 10 years it’s useless.
Say no more, from the very get go FARSEA was built wrong, manned by the wrong conflicted people, influenced by corrupt ASIC and it’s paid for comment so called Academics.
FARSEA, the right policy (15 years too late) an most disgusting implementation.
Great work LNP, Frydenberg, ODwyer, Hume, ASIC and FARSEA, you should all be held accountable for this utter rubble.
But that will never occur so let’s just blame the Advisers.
FARSEAcal Off the lot of you !!!!

I agree... they throw mud at our industry, but they can't even comply with the most basic of sexual harassment laws themselves. LOL

I have complete 9 degrees and certificates, including Masters of Commerce with specialisation in Accounting from G8 uni in QLD, CPA, SMSF Specialist course, ADFP, etc. And cleared the FASEA exam in one go. Yet, I was advised by a Kaplan assessor, that I am lacking and will need to complete a the basics module in Kaplan. After 12+ years of technical experience, including paraplanning, Advising and worked in compliance and a super fund, and having written numerous SoAs, I have to redo the basics!?, or why this one basic super module would not be excepted in my case!? Feels like I have to will have to go back to school after graduating :(

What utter rubbish, I feel for you. My son completed a B Com at Macquarie and did one FP subject. The MODEL answer for the exam examples stated that "Trauma insurance is generally tax deductible".

I decided the only reason I was going back to uni was a lecturer, not as a student.

Having to listen to an academic muppet who had no idea how the real works as opposed to financial planning would be a waste of time, not to mention frustrating and demeaning.

all ca's and CPA's have been granted 1 exemption, so you only need to do 2 courses at most, fasea ethics which everyone has to do. and the other client engagement skills (behavior finance).

remember that even CFP's where the entire course is relevant and specific to financial planning have only been given 2 credits by fasea. the CFP requires 5 units to be completed, and at a much higher standard than a CPA or CA (which only requires a 50% to pass), that is, to pass each module of the CFP requires a mark of 70%, and a 3-hour exam at the end to complete the CFP certification (requires a credit to pass)

both CPA and CFP are designations only, and not qualifications recognized under the AQF framework (but widely accepted to be at AQF 8 or graduate diploma level). whereas the CA is recognized under AQF at grad dip at AQF 8 and was 5 units until recently and has been upgraded to 8 units only recently (still only need a 50% to pass)

so I'd say given virtually no coverage in financial planning in both the CA and CPA programs ( i should know given I have completed both), you are doing well considering the breadth and depth of the CFP and where the pass rate is more difficult to obtain and holders of which have been granted only 2 credits.

The reason CA adn CPA's would only need to complete 2 subjects is if it is grouped with a relevant degree. If you are a CFP and coupled witrh a relevant degree yhou would only need to complete 1 subject (Ethics)

you cannot be admitted to membership (as a full member) with any of the three major professional accounting bodies in Australia CA/CPA/IPA without a relevant degree and completing the membership body's relevant professional qualification, and 3 years of mentored practical experience.

you cannot enter the CFP program without a degree either.

so everyone who is a CFP, or CPA/CPA/IPA and has qualified through their respective bodies have a relevant degree unless of course, you entered the profession so long ago, you were grandfathered.

the point I was making is that even though the CA or CPA program has very little coverage in financial planning they are still getting 1 credit, whereas the CFP is only getting 2 credits.

clearly, as I have done both the CA and CFP, I know which one is harder to obtain and more relevant for financial planning and as such am saying that the CFP should have been awarded more credits.

and the gentlemen or lady in question is lucky they aren't having to do 8 subjects.

The answer is there in what you have written...

The FPAs greed is why CFP is not recognised more. They treat grandfathered CFPs the same as those with a relevant degree who actually studied for it. Furthermore this designation ceases to existing as soon as you arent a member of the FPA anymore, so its not really a qualification at all.

all designations (not a qualification, the distinction is necessary and important), are issued on that basis. for example, if you are a CPA, CA, or IPA member you cannot use those designations once you cease being a fully paid-up financial member of the respective organization, the same is true for other membership bodies like the CFA institute.

in the case of the CA ANZ or IPA however, they offer their professional programs as a qualification and designation (both combined), so if you leave the CA ANZ you have a graduate diploma (forever), and if you leave the IPA you have a grad dip, m.com or MBA depending on when you entered the professional program recognized under the AQF framework (forever).

the FPA is also doing the same where the CFP is now being embedded into a masters (which is a higher award under the AQF framework at AQF9) than the designation only CFP.

Yes, but for the reason that the designation ceases as soon as one stops paying their fees, of course its not going to get the recognition of prior learning it possibly deserves based on the content itself. I don't argue the current CFP course isn't relevant learning.

And the CFP is hardly integrated into a Masters, the FPA is just providing exemptions for those who have done a MFP because nobody would study the non-FASEA approved CFP over doing a FASEA approved Masters. The FPA needs as many CFPs as possible to keep the gravy train going, so they're making it as easy as possible.

I'm exempt from CFP 1-4 but wont bother doing the minimal work from here required to get CFP just to pay the FPA more money each year for a designation nobody (client or adviser) values.

CFP units 1-4 are similar in content and standard to subjects in a Masters. (Even if corrupt FASEA Board members said otherwise). The CFP Certification subject (CFP 5) is an exam and assignment that is much harder than the FASEA exam, or anything in a Masters course. Those that complete it will have a higher standard of education than those who complete a Masters only. The "integration" of CFP into Masters programs allows students to complete the CFP Certification subject as a more challenging alternative to one of the Masters electives. They end up with both a Masters qualification and a CFP designation.

Moving forward I expect FPA will stop offering the CFP 1-4 subjects, as equivalents are included in all quasi mandatory FP degrees now. They will just focus on the CFP Certification subject (CFP5), as an additional level of assessment/designation over and above degree level.

yes, to all you have said. Last but not least remember that the CA (designation and qualification AQF8) or CPA (designation only, and not an award under the AQF framework ) only require a 50% to pass.

the 5 modules of the CFP require a minimum of 70% mark to meet "standard satisfied" and pass, and the exam in the CFPC is 3 hours and also requires a credit to pass. the last exam was scaled to 67% to pass. Therefore, those who have completed the current version of the CFP have completed a much harder qualification than the accountants have. so you already won!

now if you really want to nicely round up your qualifications do the CTA designation from the tax institute. The CTA is 6 subjects and will help you meet your tax agent requirements and that way you don't have to be beholden to anyone or association, and will make you bulletproof. the grad dip from the tax institute is an AQF 8 award and will meet the education requirements (not experience) to register as a tax agent.

become bulletproof. let's WIN! together. I know you can do it.

The FPA made a submission to FASEA which made a recommendation on prior learning including the CFP course. It's not "corrupt" FASEA's fault (as you claim) it's worth 2 credits it's was the FPA submission that was adopted...You've seemed to have forgotten the FPA bragging how they "gifted" the meaning of degree to FASEA. Secondly the CFP course is via a private provider (worth zip) and you're lucky to get 2 credits. Deakin University (the writer) gave little credit towards their own Masters. Thirdly the CFP brand is pretty much rubbish in Australia following the FPA appearance at the RC and is now sub par.

I assume you are also blaming the FPA for COVID Yogi?

Most unis, including Deakin, provide 2 RPL credits for DFP or ADFS (which is a prerequisite for the CFP course).

They also provide a further 4 RPL credits for the CFP course if enrolling in their Masters degree. So a CFP qualified person can obtain a total of 6 RPL credits when enrolling in a Masters. 6 RPL credits is the maximum allowable from any prior study, as it is impossible to get RPL for more than half a course.

I think you are incorrect or not telling the truth

Apologies this comment was direct at Abhi above. If you have completed a Master of Commerce, CPA, SMSF Adviser specialist qual and an ADFP, then it is not a bsic course you would of been instructed to complete by any educator. It would be the mandatory Ethics subjects outlined by FASEA

Hi Rebecca, Thanks for your curt message. Search me up on FAR and please view my qualifications. Yes, Ethics was also outstanding for me, which I agreed to and completed immediately. (FYI - CPA has an Ethics module too, But that's no problem, I agree the FASEA coursework Ethics module was interesting too). However, the other module with 'Super' is still required to be completed before 2026, primarily because the exemptions possible are exhausted by the combination of my degrees. You cannot double dip certain exemptions due to the rules. Therefore, in a case such as mine, my view is that there should by an proper avenue or process, to apply for and obtain the exemptions, seconded by evidence (which I do have). I did look it up, couldn't find the avenue. On the other hand, I don't really care anymore; Just bring it on. Anyways my CPD points are in excess of 100 pa without me adding half the hours done, and I'm currently studying course. So why not add yet another, eh, even if it's the basics? And if anyone does know how to apply for exemptions, please share, it would help.

look at it like a positive, through this process, gaps in your education were identified and now you are getting the opportunity to close those gaps through formal study rather than through experience. pieces of paper in the real world are worth something. trust me, I have a wall full of degrees and diplomas and half a dozen designations.

from what you have said, you sound like a chap who enjoys their study, so go for it, and good on you. we need more overqualified people in financial planning so that we can finally change the image of the profession from "rogues, let's punish them and clean them up" to "total nerds who have multiple advanced degrees, let's leave them alone" or they will quote the tax act (both in their entirety) and or the corps law back to us and embarrass us, and know ch 7 (for as long as it remains) back to front. and enjoy and relish the fact that like me you are changing the image of the profession albeit slowly but surely.

who knows what will happen in the future, the CPAA might implode or the government may say that tax agents are rogues and need a higher qualification - you would know that the TPB is doing just that - assessing whether there should be a fasea style upgrade of tax agents qualifications so you might as well get all your bases covered.

we as a profession want to be in a position where we dominate financial planning and both accountants and lawyers (not hard to do trust me). and everyone else should tread very very carefully near to or adjacent to what is the domain of financial planners only.

until that day arrives, HIT THE BOOKS HARD. 100pts of CPD pa is a good start. do 2 x post-grad subjects pa too, every 4 or 5 years you can have a freshly minted masters to add to the rest. and, whatever happens in the future you can say with Gusto as I do every time, BRING IT ON, as I bring it every day.

Relevant degree plus ADFP equals Ethics only without your other qualifications… maybe get a second opinion

I have 41 years industry experience, 20 years in private practice, a perfect compliance record, zero complaints lodged against me.....B.Bus - Accounting......B.Bus - Commercial Law....Dip FP.....Dip Fin.......but yet I was advised I must do 4 Tertiary Bridging Units to remain "qualified" past 31/12/2025. I don't mind doing the FASEA exam and would even begrudgingly do the ethics bridging unit (which repeats much of the the FASEA quiz plus annual CPD). Is this reasonable ??? I'd appreciate my fellow advisers thoughts on this.

The bridging units are a bit of a joke given two bachelors degrees in a relevant area. Ethics/Fasea exam are a given obviously.

If I had 41 years experience and was told this it would sayonara for me. Maybe you love what you do and couldn't contemplate leaving? Why don't you quit the industry and lecture on financial planning? You'd know more than any academic they could role out.

We all got ripped in some way. I blame the very associations that claimed to represent us. According to the FPA's submission to FASEA your experience is worth 20 points out of 100. Plus maybe some extra points for the Diploma. These bodies were thinking "how can we help Rob meet his requirements" that's internal marketing for how do we sell him more courses. This is not FASEA fault they were guided by industry submissions.

FASEA dudded you. They didn't follow the intent laid out in the explanatory memorandum or the the parliamentary inquiry reports which led to legislation. Instead they used their position to benefit their mates and/or employers at universities. Then they have the gall to tell us WE need an ethics course!

Let's remember that FASEA had on its Board (and as interim CEO) during the initial Standards Consultation Phase a person employed by a major University who would financially benefit from the requirement that only a FASEA approved degree would be recognized as opposed to a degree equivalent. Now remind me which Standard deals with "conflicts" - Oh, that's right, Standard 3.

Have I just time warped back to 2018?......Bizzare how both the AFA and the FPA were so bloody deafly silent on this issue in 2018/2019 because both bodies said "let's wait and see" & saw it as an opportunity to sell education courses to Advisers. The FPA was hoping their their FPEC body would be a cashcow too. FASEA was set up to establish the meaning of a Degree,and the time for being vocal was years ago...let's also not forget that the FPA made a submission stating prior learning was worth 20 points. Did they get it wrong?

When completing assignments or exams as part of FASEA / regulation requirements make sure to use the whole FASEA process as an example of a conflict of interest when discussing Standard 3. Maybe the academics will then understand why everyone is so upset by the whole process.

And when doing your FASEA ethics unit (which is compulsory for everyone no matter how many ethics units you have studied before) use the FASEA Board activities of Simon Longstaff as an illustrative example of behaving unethically.

here is a Monday fun fact.

what do the former (now) disgraced CEO of CPAA, Alex Malley, (formerly a life member, and FCPA) And Simon Longstaff have in Common?

both are FCPA, one former the other current (Longstaff).

Our day to day work pivots around legislation. I've just spent weeks reviewing 4 core pieces of legislation for the FASEA exam. My NZ Law Degree won't be recognized as a relevant qualification. I've got 37 years experience, postgrad dip from SIA, DFP, CFP, CPD galore. Will be forced to call it a day sooner than I, or my clients, feel is necessary. So much for my personal commitment to professionalism all the way through. This hoop-jumping is a circus.

Dear Lord ! Bring on 2026 so I can retire. WHAT A GREAT HEAP OF OVERKILL.

Dear lord What a heap of letters ??? I can hardly wait until 2026 to retire

Our Licensee has appointed Kaplan to determine education requirements for cases such as these. I forgot....what is Kaplans business again??? .....right.....and they do the assessments of what education is required.....right......Nothing to see here, no conflict. I have to laugh otherwise I'd cry.

Isn't sad that politicians and regulators think that a recently graduated University student aged 23 is more valuable than an adviser of 20+ years.

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