Why advisers aren't reporting FASEA exam results

Australian financial services licensees (AFSLs) are required to update the details of their advisers on the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC’s) Financial Adviser Register (FAR) after passing the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam, but this information is not publicly accessible.

An AFSL had to notify ASIC within 30 business days of the licensee becoming aware the existing provider had passed the exam.

Colin Williams, HFS Consulting director, said ASIC indicated the FASEA exam had to be reported “by the licensee” to ASIC which would be made public by default on the FAR. However, the FAR does not currently disclose whether an adviser had passed the exam, only if they had completed a FASEA-approved tertiary course.

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“It was later indicated that the exam results must be reported to ASIC but the results would not be published on the public FAR,” Williams said.

“There would be no charge for this. However, some of the general instructions for completing the FAR by licensees has not be updated that well and one could believe that the exam results would be published.”

A spokesperson for ASIC said the reason this information was not publicly available on the FAR was because it was not required under the Corporations Act.

Williams said some licensees had opted – either intentionally or by error – to place the FASEA exam results under the broader definition of “qualifications and training” and often also under “FASEA approved qualifications”.

“I believe this is optional and some may be doing this intentionally as their results appear in searches under the MoneySmart find an adviser [filter]. There is a fee for doing this.”

ASIC did not confirm if there was a fee but said “some licensees choose to include information regarding the exam in the ‘qualifications and training’ field on FAR”.

“As the exam administrator, FASEA has a complete record of all advisers who have passed the exam,” the ASIC spokesperson said.

“FASEA also publishes a list of advisers who have passed the exam. An adviser must consent to their name being added to the published list.”

There were currently just over 8,750 advisers that had opted to list themselves on the register on FASEA’s website, while over 12,000 had passed the exam.

Williams said: “From the public perspective, it is confusing as if you do a search for an adviser under the MoneySmart website, you can see an adviser’s qualifications but not the FASEA exam result and you are told that FASEA approves all qualifications with some showing up as approved and others not.

“You then search the FASEA website and maybe find that adviser but told to check the ASIC MoneySmart website for all the qualifications – a bit of a loop.

“Currently the system makes it hard for someone looking for an adviser to get surety of the qualifications of a prospective adviser.”

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Not having completed the FASEA exam yet is not necessarily an indicator of an adviser's competence. There are many valid reasons why advisers may have chosen to complete their exam later rather than earlier in the available window.

9 months from now all advisers who haven't passed the exam will be removed from the FAR anyway. There is no need to show FASEA exam status on the public version of the FAR, because right now it's irrelevant, and 9 months from now it will be a given.

FASEA are the ones who have wasted resources and created confusion, by publishing an optional public register of exam passers.

99% of consumers are completely unaware of the FASEA exam anyway. Most interest in this topic comes from industry insiders, not consumers.

Very well put.

ANON - BOOOOOOOOOOOOM. Spot on my friend. On another note, I wonder if our overlords have realised that the stockbroking profession will practically cease to exist post January....the results of stockbrokers actually passing the exam are so shocking low that surely they will need to be given some sort of exemption / time delay / revised exam specific to their occupation to actually pass it. Crazy stuff.

I can't see why "Stockbrokers" (a term last used in 1995 & my competitors) that advertise they provide financial planning, SMSF Advice, etc etc, be given exemptions or extensions. Perhaps FASEA should take a walk past some shop front windows or websites, pick up the phone and ring some "stockbrokers" and be reminded of this. I get "stockbroking" is complex but I didn't see any carve out for the old riskies and 80% I'd guess, openly say they don't do financial planning. With questions around Privacy, AML, compliance and only 12 FASEA standards, it wasn't that hard an exam, just questions design to trick.

I agree with earlier sentiments by commenters.
I've finished the FARCical exam and passed, but WGAF? I don't want my result published because it means absolutely SFA.
Clients don't care about me passing it, they just want me to look after them like I always have; my licensee only cares because they value my contribution to the business.
There has never been and remains no explanation of why this 'exam' has any application or relevance or any logical reason for being forced upon advisers; the only obvious outcomes are that 1). the revenue raised is enormous, (but where is it going?) and 2). many experienced advisers will be lost to the sector and the Australian citizen is by far the biggest loser.
There's too much BS nowadays where calling out rubbish is frowned upon instead of calling it out for what it is - the exam thing is a revenue-raising witch hunt; even the remaining advisers that pass the exam will potentially have a fraudster in waiting...all known saints are dead, there's none walking among us.....we're being taken for complete mugs.....

I passed the exam, I'm highly qualified, and amongst the best in my profession, yada yada. Well all that's true, but why would I wish for my name to be made public. Why promote competition (rather than co-operation) in the narrative called public interest? Why should one have to publish anyways? It's just a tag, that's all. Or is it to satisfy the ego/salaries of certain people/regulators, come of whom don't really understand FP/professionalism in these years. I see most Advisers around me work really hard, late and extra hours, only striving to help clients beyond expectations. But, Advisers today keep a low profile, just because some regulators may go on a witch hunt and mark you. Yet Advisers are shovelled until they pay fees after fees and study on forever, regardless of justified experience. Yes, we agree that certain few planners did most of the wrong (well, many from the bank world), but why the reprisal now towards those who were not responsible or present when the chaos was uncovered? Post commissions, most responsible cut loose from the mess and literally escaped. Anyways, post royal commission, 'the major parties' to the commissions were let loose with a slap on the wrist or just scot-free. And so I wonder, who really was fed the fodder to chew on, turn their faces or keep their mouths shut.

Wow that would be near impossible to get 1 Govt department to communicate with another. Far to simple and common sense for ASIC.
Govt only know how to over complicate and over regulate and now just love charging fines for the slightest of mundane admin breaches.
Get your own crap together ASIC.

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