Politicians lobbied on FASEA failings

Financial advisers are using a Financial Planning Association (FPA) document highlighting the still unfinished elements of the new Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) regime to lobby parliamentarians to back the legislative amendments necessary for a 12-month extension to the FASEA adviser exam deadline.

The FPA has produced a document calling for the 12-month extension to 1 January, 2022, which it claims will restore the full two-year period for financial planners to study for and take the exam.

In doing so, the FPA document not only points to what the FASEA has not yet delivered but has pointed out the following:

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“The roll-out of the exam has been delayed, along with supporting elements for the exam including reading and study material, bridging courses and a guidance document for the Code of Ethics.

“The first exam sitting was only held in June 2019 and was only available in capital cities. Financial planners in regional areas will have to wait until 2020 for the exam to be available in their area through digital delivery.

“It will take between six and eight weeks to get the results of the exam, meaning planners will not be able to rely on sitting the exam after October 2020, as they will not receive the results before the deadline.

“The Code of Ethics, which is a key subject of the exam, was released in February 2019. FASEA has yet to release a promised guidance document on how it will apply in practice. Bridging courses on the Code of Ethics won’t be available until late 2019.

“The consequences for the exam are severe. Each attempt at passing the exam will cost a planner $540 and failure to pass the exam in time will result in them losing their jobs, careers and/or businesses.”

Elsewhere, the FPA document has called on FASEA to “urgently settle its decisions on recognition of prior learning for all outstanding professional certifications and reconsider providing credit for experience and training through continued professional development”.

As well, it states that FASEA only approved the first round of bridging courses and graduate diploma programs in June, and that advisers who need to complete a full eight-unit diploma will need to complete two units a year for the next fours.

It said that, on this basis, it was requesting the Government extend the deadline for meeting the FASEA education standard by 24 months to January, 2026.

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The extension to the exam deadline is self-explanatory and a necessity, if merely based on the ethical principle of fairness alone. Why should it take 6-8 weeks to mark the exam when it only contains 6 short answers? Universities are able to mark their exams & communicate the results within 3-4 weeks of the end of the exam week. Are we paying for Premium 98RON petrol for a 91RON ethanol blend service?

FPA stop making Financial Planning the laughing stock of Australian Professionals. Complaining that advisers will only have to complete 2 units a year for 4 years, is a joke. This is not arduous requirement and only affects those advisers who have sat on their hands for decades while blind Freddy could see the educational standards were going to shift.
5 years was an overly generous time frame as it was, there is no way this date should be extended. It is time for the industry to get the education done and move forward.

It's not just advisers who have done nothing for years who are affected by FASEA's educational requirements. There's a lot of advisers who have undertaken a great deal of relevant education and are highly competent because of it. But the conflicted FASEA Board members are saying much of that education was worthless. They're forcing advisers to repeat their education. In many cases this will involve paying course fees or purchasing textbooks from which FASEA Board Members will personally benefit.

The FASEA legislation was well intentioned and highly appropriate. The way that legislation has been hijacked and abused for personal gain by members of the FASEA Board is worthy of a corruption inquiry.

Unfortunately advisers who went early are having to redo whole units. There was limited benefit to starting early. The point is the approved curriculum and recognition of prior learning wasn't set. In fact it is still being set - which is pretty crazy when you think about it

We need a bit less "pride" in relation to who got their degree first, & a bit more humility in respect to getting as many advisers possible through their educational requirements, in a realistic time frame. Hence the extensions requested by the FPA are reasonable. Having less advisers around is not serving the advice needs of low income Australians. My clients are not interested in my degree. They are interested in making money & not losing it.

I think these proposals should be accepted. The end goal will still be achieved which should be the focus but there is fairness and common sense in how to get there. Why not allow more time - I can't think of an obvious negative?

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