Foreign degrees problematic for planners

Financial planners with foreign tertiary degrees stand to be disadvantaged under the legislative and regulatory arrangements being utilised by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA), according to the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA).

The AFA has urged FASEA to give greater weight to the further education undertaken by planners with foreign degrees, including continuing professional development (CPD).

In a submission filed with the FASEA, the AFA has pointed out that the legislation governing foreign qualifications held by financial planners is more prescriptive than those generally applied under the Corporations Act.

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“In our view these requirements limit the flexibility in the handling of foreign qualifications. We also note the fact that decisions by FASEA on foreign qualifications are subject to review by a Tribunal, which presents additional considerations,” the AFA submission said.

“We are very conscious that some existing financial advisers may have a combination of overseas qualifications and Australian based qualifications,” it said. “For those who have been in Australia for many years they may also have completed courses such as the Diploma of Financial Planning (DFP), the Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning (ADFP) or professional designations. We therefore think that the assessment of these existing advisers with a range of different qualifications may in some cases be more complicated.”

The AFA submission noted what it described as an understandable reservation about the knowledge that an overseas graduate might have with respect to the Australian legal, tax and practice regimes but said that the practical reality was that these regimes were constantly changing and someone who did a Degree in Australia a number of years back would not have studied the current legal, tax and practice regimes as part of that degree.

“This would undoubtedly have been addressed by the further study that they have undertaken since, in terms of formal study (i.e. DFP and ADFP) and also ongoing CPD,” it said.

“We believe that FASEA needs to take this further Australian based education and ongoing CPD into account when considering what bridging courses might be required to address the issues of the Australian legal, tax and practice regime for overseas graduates.”

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Perhaps they should take a similar approach to the Commonwealth's handling of kiwi advisers operating in Oz. For the most part they are exempt from the FASEA regime thanks to the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 and for now, RG146.86. The basis being (other than common sense) they have corresponding training requirements. A couple of exceptions exist i.e. superannuation and margin lending but they are overcome by completing the appropriate gap training.

It is a great idea to make qualifications easier for foreign qualified financial planners
This would be such a boost to the indutry
Once this happens I will be able to bring overseas financial planners on tourist visa for 3 months. I provide them a room and noodles and a tin of tuna, an air mattress and 2 suits from Lowes. I pay them the going rate from their country which is $7 per hour. I send the soas to parr-aplanning overseas and pay $5 per soa. My office can be sources from ( garage or storage space - need 2 one for office and other for staff to sleep in) It will be substantially cheaper using foreign labour instead of local. Local Labour $40 hour labour & superannuation & work cover. By being able to use foreign planners will really help me employ more. Please lobby your local politician to recognise foreign qualifications as it will really help your bottom line. One this gets through we must lobby for financial planning interviews can be conducted from overseas. This is the ultimate as you could do everything from overseas call centre while you relax at the beach. I would lobby your federal politicians strongly for this change for the better whilst they are in election mode as there is greater chance to get what you want.

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