Govt proposes ‘experience pathway’ for advisers without degrees

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.

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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.

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Seriously? After all the time and effort spent in completing a Master's Degree? Politicians give me the shits

It's a step too far, but it shows the Coalition have finally woken up and realised financial advisers are preparing to turn on them en mmasse at the next election. This is a good thing. We can never again allow ourselves to be a lock for the Coalition.

Disgusting. No other word for it. 3 steps forward, 3 steps back.
A deadset slap in the face to anyone who busted themselves in the last few years to comply and undoubtedly sacrificed a lot. This will set us back from professionalism for years to come.


Oh come on, this is a step for common sense.

Common sense would be acknowledging that the compliance overreach and burden will be easier to lift once everyone is held to a higher standard.

People say diddums, well plenty of us run across clients who've received D grade advice previously, things that should be basic knowledge completely missed.

4 whole years into this process is way too late to be backtracking like this.

I wholeheartedly agree. We cannot be taken seriously as a profession when advisers still only have their "Kellogg's" box qualifications to back them. A Royal Commission should be enough evidence that the current "experienced" advisers aren't up to scratch

You can't possibly be serious thinking that the government will relax compliance!!! That's just naive!

In my 38 years of service to the industry, no government changes have made advice simpler and it won't change with professionalism.... and I don't mean to imply that professionalism won't occur with advisers such as myself remaining in the industry.

The simple fact is... Professionalism has not stopped legal industry, nor doctors falling foul of the law, and it won't do that for financial planning either. There is always somebody who is going to make a dash for cash, only in the future, they will have to be degree qualified criminals to do so. Experienced financial planners with a clean slate aren't the enemy.

The largest contingent of offending entities in the Royal Commission were AFSL groups who were vertically integrated, and their advisers who were mainly just trying to keep their jobs under a forced KPI regime. I don't excuse the advisers, because they should have been whistleblowers, but I can understand their position.

it is inevitable that there will always be a few bad apples in any occupation/profession, so please quit with the Aryan master race bullsh*t and grow a brain.

Hooray!!!!! Finally, some common sense.

The government has had plenty of time to do this. They are now just shamefully copying Labor in an attempt to stem the hemorrhaging of their support from those in financial services and their families.

FARSEAcal til the highest degree, not that you need a degree now. What an absolute crap show from Frydenberg, Hume & LNP that truely shows they are now crapping themselves and desperate to save their jobs having lost so many loyal Advisers votes.
Go and get stuffed LNP you disgust me and I can’t wait to vote this rabble out.
Frydenberg & Hume ARE LIARS, LIARS, LIARS just like the LIAR FROM THE SHIRE SCOMO.

It also looks like a promise from the grave from where I'm sitting too.

Once they get in, the supporters affected will only be a minority anyway, so it will get priority some 4 years down the track at the time of the next election.

Just another promise bound for the compost heap!

So essentially anyone who is fairly new to the industry and has been advising since 2016, the education requirements don’t apply.
Really? That doesn’t really make sense!

Surely that's not the outcome!

The education requirements still apply. The exemption is for 10 years full-time experience in the past 12 years.

As of 1Jan 2026

Funny how the Coalition have come out with this proposal, "directly" after Labour came out with their sensible plan. The Government implemented FASEA, allowed the circus to go on with our industry in tatters. Now they have come back with an attempt to save face... what a farce. The Government should be ashamed of themselves.

You must be kidding. So FASES came out we did it passed and moved on. The education requirements came out we did them passed and moved on. Now this. It is an absolute disgrace to all advisors who took this profession and their business seriously enough to go out of their way and meet and exceed all the requirements. Usually doing this while running a full-time business and advising clients and dealing with all the other bureaucratic rubbish that was thrust upon us. I will not be voting for any major parties I will be looking for an independent that actually understands what we've gone through and what we are going through. The major parties have awarded all our lazy colleagues who could not get off your back sides and better themselves for the sake of their clients and the profession. Disgusting!

Oh, please... spare me.

It seems that at age 61, after giving 38 years of my life to helping clients, it is now a crime to want to enjoy my life a little as well as look after my clients!!!

Boo Hoo to you.

Let's all get back on the merry ro round. It's in legislation, it has been for years, that we have to do the study. Don't stuff it up now and have a 2 tiered semi-profession. Yes, experience counts. But 10 years is not enough to justify doing no further study. 1 ethics unit does not provide a "base level of knowledge across the financial advice industry", unless it is a very low base (think RG146).
It feels like the tail is wagging the dog again. How many advisers is this really going to benefit, to the detriment of the whole profession/ industry or whatever we will end up being called. Just stop stuffing around with the laws and give us some stability to do our jobs in.

There's never been any stability in the past and personally I don't think there should be stability here... I agree that 10 years is a bit "light on", but surely 20 years is sufficiently significant for experience,

How many will it benefit? Enough to provide the PY experience that all new graduates will need. :P

I don't see where our 30 hours (now 40 hours) per year of ongoing professional development does not equal education!!! 40 hours at 8 hours a day is the equivalent of 1 week per year. That's far from "No education".

People have taken their lives over this. And now what ??? We're sorry?

Hopefully it will be enough to stop more people taking their life over it.

What a massive step backwards for our 'profession'. Might as well walk away from financial advice being deemed a profession if this moves forward. We have had ample time to complete the qualifications and move from a sales-based mindset to one that genuinely caters for client's best interests. Did anyone consult with the consumers who have been financially disadvantaged by poorly educated advice providers?
At least consider scoping the advice that these lazy advisers are able to provide to clients. Leave them embedded in industry funds where they can only provide guidance on contributions, investment selection and the like.
This decision won't encourage the right candidates choosing this as a career. Shame on you.

There has to be a legal case here against the Commonwealth.

1. Sold my business, missed years of income???
2. Did all this study at $300/hour that's $X thousands plus course fees when I would have qualified anyway??

Incompetent gov't
Incompetent regulator
Incompetent Hayne

If an adviser was shown to be this horrendously incompetent they would rightly be run out of business.

ASIC and the government keep merrily crapping on us from high, compounding initial f-ups with more and more and more f-ups.

Time for a nuclear detonation reset WITH consultation this time from practitioners who actually know what they doing, not just incompetent public servants, idiot lawyers and good two shoe know nothing consumer groups.

Unbelievable (not really) but sick and disgusting vote grabbing policy proposal, similar to what was exposed with the pork-barreling in Dutton's electorate. So in the blink of an eye, after all of this time that has passed since FOFA, they have just smashed the advisers that have met the 'previous requirements'. Rightly or wrongly whatever your view is on the educational requirements, both Labor and Liberal should be sacked, and a Royal Commission be held regarding Government policy, funding, and MP's appalling behaviour.

The big end of town will always need someone to blame and so yep, what a win for them and what a watering down of consumer protection mechanisms....we've all got education levels lower than hairdressers and we can't be trusted..... They're even talking about making the FASEA exam easier to pass....Now this is just frankly really really embarrassing....imagine whinging that you can't complete even 6 subjects of a degree covering something you do every single day. Who would want to be part of that industry.

Look at the fine print. All bets are off if 12 months before 1 Jan 2026 you get a blemish on your record. So you would then need to get all your study done by the deadline. I have a few units to go. I don't think I will stop studying just in case I get an unintended blemish....... or they change the rules again.

Having started my GradDip in 2019 and only 6 months to go, I'm now being told that this was for nought, a complete waste of time and money. Disgusted that this idea is even on the table as we begin 2022.

Well you should have held off doing it, like I did, knowing full well that this would never have gone through.

Thanks for the insight Rick. It sounds like you are an experienced practitioner who is saying you learnt nothing of value from your Grad Dip, and its only benefit is as a regulatory box ticking exercise. This actually vindicates the government's better late than never revision to the requirements.

Not for nought.... you're now infinitely improved than you were previously, aren't you?

Only the truly delusional would stay in this game - it's a dog's breakfast!

It's a shame that the path to professionalism has now become a political, vote-scoring football. It's cost lives, careers, time and lots of financial distress and the majority of advisers were on the promised path forward because we could all see where it needed to get to. But this is a joke. Years of experience does not equate to ethical and professional. Passing an exam and doing a course in ethics does not equate to ethical and professional. In fact, professional (as we know) can mean ethical and knowledgeable but it can also mean heartlessly commercial, unprofessional, lazy, greedy and self-interested (and you can throw a bunch of lawyers, accountants and others into that bucket as well). I've seen too many "older" advisers in that camp. Don't get me wrong. There are some seriously good people in this industry that really get what professional complaint advice is all about and are under-qualified, and by the same token there are some really qualified but really dodgy a*holes that would sell their own mother to make a dollar. But the education standards and exam at least drew a defensible line in the sand and hand on heart we could say as a profession, we're highly qualified and knowledgeable and know our sh*t. This just kills the argument for professionalisation of advice and says "if a dodgy salesman rips you off and goes out of business, we're socialising the losses with our brand new compensation scheme of last resort - so there is really no need to ensure advisers are professional and accountable." The good advisers pay for the bad ones and life goes on. FFS!

Just when you think Government can’t wreck this industry anymore, they prove you wrong.
If this proposal becomes law, it’s the final nail in the coffin for the financial planning industry.
That’s how serious this is!!!! And just so anyone thinks I’m having a whinge, I started financial planning in 1987 and still have a couple more subjects left to complete existing adviser pathways requirements by 2026 which I am happily obligated to do. However, if this proposal becomes law, then by law I don’t need to do them, so on a personal level would benefit from this insane proposal.
As this proposal stands, this means that anyone registered from 2016 with as little as only 2 years experience in the industry when FASEA existing pathways was implemented in 2018, for the very reason that existing advisers without enough experience or tertiary education shouldn’t be entrusted with individuals life savings….will now qualify under ‘Experience Pathway’…… disgusting and insane!
If the proposal had been 10 years relevant experience as of 1 Jan 2018, and individual still registered on FAR and actively still practicing in 2026, were exempt then that would be more reasonable, but still misses the whole point of FASEA, Royal commission, and the massive upheaval that was supposedly all for the benefit to turning the financial planning industry into a ‘profession’
As it is today, there are still 20% of AR’s registered on FAR that still can’t pass an ethics exam… so what do we do… we give them a further 9 months to try and pass after failing twice, but if you failed once you are out!!! I mean seriously… where is the professionalism or logic in that?
Essentially we are saying you haven’t passed exam because you not treating the industry as a professional and investing time improving on yourself, so sit the exam a 2nd time and don’t worry if you fail, as will give you a further 9 months….INSANE!! Let’s face it, if you If you can’t pass an ethics exam after 3 years, then you don’t deserve to be in the industry full stop… the industry is trying to be professional. For years I’ve watched so called ‘professionals’ whinge and whine and protest that they specialise in insurance or stockbroking, etc, etc, and therefore it’s not relevant… To them I say get over it and take the profession of ‘financial services’ seriously, or get out! It’s a test of ‘Ethics and Professionalism’ for crying out loud.
It is fair to say that as an experienced adviser of decades, I have been disillusioned with the tertiary education pathways program. Not because I had some bridging study to do personally, but more so at the content of the tertiary education material which does little to prep individuals for the ‘real world’ of financial planning, and has highlighted that the world of academia, and the world of commerce are indeed worlds apart, and it appears that never the twain shall meet! But debate on tertiary program and fixing it up to make it fit for purpose is a whole other story and definitely needs to addressed.
But at the very least we must all be tertiary qualified….. period! This is a starting point, and now it seems we are going to bin even the starting point in re-imaging this industry into a profession. This industry was such a mess that we couldn’t even extract experienced individuals with knowledge and integrity, from those with knowledge of self-interest and personal gain; and now this proposal allows self-interest and personal gain to continue… I simply cannot believe this. The only individuals not willing to do the existing adviser pathway requirements education standards are the ones not interested in investing in themselves or the industry, and they must be weeded out or the industry is dead. These individuals were set to leave the industry in 2024, then 2026, and now will continue on forever. This proposal must be killed, or the industry is dead.
Unless you are a politician, you wouldn’t allow a brain surgeon to put a scalpel to your skull even if they had decades of experience but no medical degree, irrespective of the fact the surgeon probably gain his/her skill and knowledge in the operating theatre. But yet this proposal puts the scalpel to our industry, and could be the fatal cut. For every individual that values this profession and is desperate to see it become a reputable profession we can all be proud of and wherein the community respects and values we must oppose this proposal with all our might. Otherwise we risk the Jayant Patel’s of the financial services industry causing the death of our industry by a thousand cuts. Debate / proposals for changing content of tertiary education is necessary, as the current system is far, far from perfect; but is a distant second in priority. Let’s do what we can to kill this proposal before it kills us all.

Jayant Patel had a degree, which proves that it's not advisers without a degree which will necessarily bring down the professionalism of this industry.

I would suggest that if you're going to use an example, make it a little more convincing. This convinces me that a degree doesn't matter. There will be advisers in our industry who will become degree qualified offenders, just as there have been (and most likely will be again) in the medical, legal and ALL other professions.

Lots of outrage from the self righteous Johnnys come lately to education, who have completed third rate degrees offered by glorified TAFEs. But for those of us who did the right thing long ago, and completed degrees of much higher standing from real universities, this is actually a promising development. Now we may not have to waste as much time and money being lectured to by a bunch of mediocre lightweights pretending to be "academics".

Sure, it might mean a few undereducated life insurance sales reps slip through the net, but in the absence of a fair and sensible RPL policy, the proposed experience exemption is the next best thing.

I’m sorry. I thought there was an ‘experience pathway’ already in place... that if you qualified being and adviser on the FAR you only needed to attain AQF 8 at best. Are the max 8 units that hard to complete? I understand that there is CPD on top of but each unit actually takes up a lot of that requirement too.

Yes, the experience pathway is in place.... Any course completed more than 10 years ago is irrelevant, so in my 38 years' experience, I could have done the degree course 3 times, and now coming up to a 4th time, right? :P

This Liberal Govt is corrupt and broken.
They kill us off over the last 5 years and then offer a sensible reprieve ONLY after Labor provides an alternative to the absolute shitstorm Liberal have created and fully supported.
This isn’t about anything other than votes and the retention of power.
They are an absolute disgrace.

This change appears to be a response to the shrill noise about adviser numbers "falling off a cliff" in 2026. To my knowledge, nobody has actually accurately quantified the extent of this alleged catastrophe which is a piece of research I can't believe the AFA and FPA have co-authored so that we all know the truth of the situation. With about <20K adviser on the FAR, it couldn't be that hard? It reminds me of the LIF changes, where if you repeatedly jumped up and down on one foot continuously screaming "Consumers Best Interest" that passed for vigorous analysis of the issue and sufficient 'proof' for the changes.

To have come so far, to have improved standards within sight, and then to throw the whole lot out. As cynical as I am, it is still a surprise that with victory within its grasp, better advice for Australian consumers, the Government abandons everything it set out to achieve and gallops off in full retreat from two old advisers with a loud mouth and no qualifications. Poor old Mr Hayne spent a lot of time and effort for, it appears, very little. Never before have so many ,achieved so little, with so much.

You're making the mistake that education = better advice for clients and that experience does not. This is just unfounded. It is an academic supposition based in theory only, just like the FASEA principles.

If you understood the Hayne recommendations, you would know that most of them were detrimental to the industry. Sadly they have been implemented without question, but their effects will become apparent within the next few years.

I don't get the backlash from advisers, I know its a pain for those that have done (me included), some if not all of the edu req, they should have acknowledged experience properly to begin with, but they didn't, so what - their politicians.
Education is never a waste and don't think this is the Libs response to Labor that's very unlikely - I still wouldn't trust Labor to support our industry/Advisers better than the Libs do, even though the Libs have been terrible to us, Labor would have been worst, and you all know that...
We are resilient and people need us....make the most of the changes, stop complaining and get on with Advising.

Definitely not the Libs' reply to the Labor offer... it's their Bi-Partison approach to revolution of the financial planning industry. :) I also believe in the tooth fairy. LOL

You're right just the same, both parties are useless and annoying, but the Libs' announcement once again gives me a choice of who I can vote for. :P

This will simply create more division between the have's and have not's in the profession, and is a bad thing, because they're effectively going to legislate division. Plays right into the hands of the institutions, who no doubt influenced Treasury. And as stated above, so a 25-30year old now, who in 2026 has 10 years, needs no real qualification - so the banks will take him back on in 5 years ( 2026) to sell product.

What happens to those advisers who sold their businesses? This creates an impression that it is ok not to act on legislation until the last moment. You never know if they are going to roll back the decision.
They did the same with opt-in and other reforms. By the time you spend time, effort and money getting around one way of working, they change it to another.
It seems votes of 20,000 advisers and their families are too immaterial for this government.

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