Set education bridging courses in stone: FPA

A man stands before a large rock.

The FPA urges clarity from FASEA on bridging courses in adviser education framework.

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) is urging the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) to provide certainty on bridging courses under the new education framework before the consultation period closes on 29 June.

Speaking with selfmanagedsuper, FPA chair Neil Kendall said FASEA had not provided any guidance on approved bridging courses, which had caused significant uncertainty and confusion for advisers.

“Advisers don’t understand it. They’re talking about 10-year rules, pre-1995 degrees, nothing counts. A lot of that is just rumour,” Kendall said.

“The facts are if you’ve got a degree, you’ve got to do a bridging course. And we don’t know what the bridging course looks like. And so one of the things we’re urging FASEA to urgently issue guidance on is an approved bridging course so that people can actually figure out what that means.”

He said advisers were choosing not to make any decisions on further study until they had certainty on the different elements and he urged FASEA to issue guidance as soon as possible on bridging courses to remove the confusion.

“So we’ve actually got, perversely, the opposite of what was intended in terms of advisers educating themselves. A lot of advisers have stopped and said they don’t really know what they need to do so they’re not going to do anything yet,” he said.

“In fact, what we’re getting is the unintentional consequence of the opposite of what FASEA is trying to achieve: raise education standards.”

On designations, he noted while they were not a degree equivalent, they provided the skills required for an adviser to provide clients with robust advice.

“It is inconceivable that someone who is degree qualified and has completed a CFP (certified financial planner) program doesn’t meet the requirements to give excellent advice. It’s the premier qualification globally,” he said.

The FPA was seeking to convince FASEA to include its CFP designation as a bridging course as it matched the Financial Planning Education Council’s criteria almost exactly, he said.

He said FASEA had indicated a time frame of the end of 2018 to finalise the framework, with the consultation period closing on 29 June.

However, he said it was difficult to provide submissions on the framework when significant pieces of the puzzle, such as the specific bridging course requirements, were missing.

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