Industry consensus emerges on higher education transition

A strong consensus exists between the major financial services organisations that the Government will need to amend its draft Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Bill 2015 to ensure existing financial advisers have sufficient time to acquire degree-level qualifications.

Submissions responding to the draft legislation closed on Monday but it became almost immediately clear that there was cross-industry unity on the fact the transitional arrangements proposed in the draft legislation were not going to be long enough for existing advisers to reach the proposed degree-level qualifications.

The submissions of the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA), the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) all made the point that the proposed requirement for existing financial planners to have to complete a bachelor degree or equivalent by 1 July 2019 was impossible to achieve.

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However in the case of both the ASFA and AFA submissions, the two organisations have urged the adoption of the AQF 6 standard rather than the degree level AQF 7.

For its part, the FPA has urged that the draft legislation be amended to allow for the proposed new standards body to decide on an "appropriate transition pathway for existing financial planners".

It said that while the FPA believes no blanket grandfathering should apply, there was a need to acknowledge Recognised Prior Learning (RPL), including existing qualifications, ongoing Continued Professional Development (CPD) and licensee required training, as well as relevant experience, of existing financial planners.

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Notice that CPA Australia and CAANZ haven't been mentioned as making submissions. That's right, their members that are in the advice space already have degrees.

Agree Tony, advisers who don't get on board are sitting ducks competitively as accountants start to gather momentum in the space ( finally) - I give it 5 years, but they will be more and more competitive and if you don't stack up qualifications wise you may hang onto existing clients but may struggle for new.

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