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SMSF specialist designations not enough

The SMSF specialist adviser designation will not mean anything unless an adviser has completed other pieces of education under new educational requirements and professional standards for financial advisers, according to BT.

BT head of financial literacy and advocacy Bryan Ashenden told selfmanagedsuper while there was no certainty yet on what form the final educational framework would take, just doing designation specialist programs from bodies such as the SMSF Association would not be sufficient unless the adviser had completed all the other requirements.

Ashenden hastened to add it was still a waiting game for the industry as the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) was still developing the final framework.

“The current remit of FASEA as an organisation is to go: ‘What are the overall standards for everybody?,’ and that’s what they’re focusing on,” he said.

“They’re not focusing on: ‘And what is the specialist requirement for SMSF advice?,’ so in that sense I think anyone who has done the SMSF specialist program will still put themselves in a good position to hold themselves out as an expert in SMSFs.”

Those who would still need to complete other pieces of education to fill in the gaps would have the time to do so, he said.

Completing designation courses may give advisers credit towards further education courses and may place them on a pathway to meeting all other education requirements.

Ashenden said completing designation courses would be valuable for advisers as clients could judge them positively for pursuing further studies, but warned advisers to look at the bigger picture.

“You’d have to look at any form of the education. You can’t just go: ‘What is it at this point in time?’ It’s about: ‘Where does it fit into the broader scheme of things and how can I do anything that helps?’” he said.

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