The Government has proposed an “experience pathway” that will allow financial advisers who have 10 or more years of full-time experience in the last 12 years to only need to complete a tertiary level unit on the code of ethics to continue providing financial advice.
Treasury released its policy paper on ‘Education Standards for Financial Advisers’ on Thursday that included proposed amendments to the education standard.
The proposal sought to streamline the minimum education requirements and recognise on-the-job experience, while ensuring there was a base level of knowledge across the financial advice industry and the quality of financial advice was at a high standard.
The pathways proposed were:
- Experience pathway: as of the commencement date specified in s1546B(1) of the Corporations Act (1 January 2026), individuals who have 10 or more years of full-time experience as a financial adviser in the last 12 years will only need to complete a tertiary level unit on the code of ethics in order to continue providing financial advice; and
- Qualification pathway: individuals (existing providers or new entrants) who do not meet the requirements under the “experience pathway” must complete a bachelor’s degree or higher with at least 8 units in a related field of study in any combination. Units must either be at Bachelor’s (AQF7), Graduate Diploma (AQF8) or Master’s (AQF9) level. Existing providers continue to have until 1 January, 2026, to complete any required units.
The proposal noted that advisers who used the experience pathway needed to have a “clean record” prior to 1 January, 2026. This meant no sanctions from the Financial Services and Credit Panel (FSCP), excluding warnings.
“The Government will not accredit individual degrees or subjects to ensure they meet the requirements to be an approved degree,” it said.
“Higher education providers offering bachelor’s degrees or higher qualifications are responsible for ensuring their courses meet the relevant requirements.
“Financial advisers undertaking any education must self-assess that they meet the relevant education requirements. The new single disciplinary body, the FSCP, which commences from 1 January, 2022, will perform an important role in ensuring that correct self-assessment is robustly enforced within the profession.”
On recognition of prior learning (RPL), new entrants using the 'qualification pathway' would be able to seek RPL at AQF 7, 8 or 9 level in a related field of study as part of completing their bachelor’s degree or higher qualification.
“For advisers who were listed on the Financial Advisers Register at any time between 1 January, 2016, and 1 January, 2019, but who do not qualify for the experience pathway, two units may be substituted with the completion of a course or program that is listed in FASEA’s Approved Recognition of Prior Learning List,” it said.
“This substitution may only be applied for a maximum of two of the eight units.”
Submissions for the consultation would be accepted until 1 February, 2022.