Details missing on education requirements

Frayed rope.

The SMSF Association remains concerned about the initial standards for education requirements for existing advisers as uncertainty lingers around degree requirements for advisers and specialist accreditation courses.

SMSF Association head of policy Jordan George told selfmanagedsuper the consultation paper released by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) in December last year, which stated existing advisers must hold an approved qualification as stipulated on the FASEA/Financial Planning Education Council (FPEC) approved register to satisfy the education standard requirement, was narrow in its application.

George also said there was a very limited subset of degrees advisers may have undertaken that would be recognised.

“The law requires that people undertake a bachelor’s degree or have an equivalent standard,” he said.

“So I think the initial position on what’s an accepted relevant bachelor’s degree was quite narrow.”

In its consultation paper, “Existing Adviser Qualifications Pathway Proposed Guidance”, FASEA said existing advisers must have either completed, by 1 January 2024, an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level 7 qualification that is a FASEA/FPEC approved register qualification, or a course that offers at least eight units/courses at AQF level 8, covering fields that include ethics, professional attitudes and behaviours, financial planning and advice process, and technical requirements.

“I think we’re concerned that people who have made best endeavours to do tertiary education, further education previously, aren’t having their qualifications recognised and are then maybe required to do a full graduate diploma in addition to what they’ve done already,” George said.

FASEA must provide guidance to universities on what form the recognised prior learning framework would take, something which had not occurred yet but was vital for existing advisers, he said.

The SMSF Association was also seeking clarity on how other qualifications may count towards having equivalent standards, such as the association’s SMSF specialist adviser accreditation, with George adding the industry body would consult with FASEA over the next six months to iron out those details.

“They did make it clear in their initial guidance document that dealing with specialisation and specialist accreditations will be something that they do throughout this process, but it wasn’t a priority for them to do in the first instance,” he noted.

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