Politicians demand rise in education standards

Politicians from both sides of the Senate have called for the education standards of financial planners to be lifted.

NSW Nationals Senator, John Williams, hit out at the "frightening evidence" the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services heard, about the training planners received prior to be qualified to give advice.

"The committee received frightening evidence that someone could go online and do a course of a few hours and be qualified to be a financial planner… simply by doing a brief questionnaire on the internet," he said.

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"Some say it was an eight-day crash course of study. It is vital that this parliament, including the other house, change these regulations."

Senator Williams, backed calls form the PJC report, which recommended that the mandatory minimum educational standard for financial advisers should be increased to a degree qualification at Australian Qualification Framework level seven and a Finance Professionals' Education Council should set the core and sector specific requirements for Australian Qualifications Framework level seven courses.

"I would hope that when these changes come to this place, they are supported unanimously — to lift the education standards of financial planners so that it is no longer the farce it has been for many years," he said.

NSW Labor Senator, Deborah O'Neill, the deputy chair of the PJC, also backed the need to boost education standards, saying the current regime had "opened the door for cowboys and shysters".

"Financial services account for nine per cent of GDP, and more than $1.8 trillion in super funds are currently under management," she said.

"But the development of this industry opened the door for cowboys and shysters, as is typically the case when the opportunity to use someone else's money arises.

"Labor believes these vital private savings must be properly protected."

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