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.
“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.”