The SMSF Association is advocating for the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) guidelines to include specific education standards for SMSF advice, given the complexity of the subject matter.
In response to FASEA’s release of the “Existing Adviser Qualifications Pathway: Proposed Guidance” document last week, SMSF Association chief executive John Maroney welcomed the move as an important step in transitioning the advice sector to the new standards.
Maroney said although the initial guidance proposals had not dealt with specialist areas of advice, the peak industry body was pleased FASEA had recognised the importance of needing to consider that as part of its ongoing standards development.
“We will be advocating for SMSF advice to have specific educational standards given the complexity of the subject matter and the importance of ensuring SMSF members are being advised by professionals with the requisite knowledge to do so,” he said.
“[The proposed guidance] is a critical first step in providing certainty for advisers on how they can meet the new degree-standard educational requirements by 2024.
“Improving the educational standards of financial advisers is an important reform that will ensure they are delivering the best quality advice to consumers and assisting them to meet their long-term financial goals.”
He said the association was looking forward to further engaging with FASEA on the detail of the qualification pathways for advisers.
“Details on recognition of prior learning and bridging courses will be significant, especially given FASEA’s initial narrow approach to recognising relevant degrees for their standards,” he noted.
“We understand that FASEA’s statement at this stage is only outlining their approach, with a lot of detail to be fleshed out in 2018.
“We want to ensure that advisers who have previously completed a bachelor’s degree as an attempt to be professional and improve their skills are not unfairly disadvantaged by FASEA’s new standards.”
He said consultation on these issues would be crucial in 2018 and he hoped FASEA would maintain a flexible approach during the transition period.
The association will make more detailed comments on the standards as part of the consultation process.