Concern among accountants continues to exist over the appropriateness of the bridging exam the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) has imposed on existing advisers with a relevant degree currently operating under a limited Australian financial services licence.
This apprehension was communicated at the Financial Planning Association 2018 Professionals Congress in Sydney last week during a session where FASEA chief executive Stephen Glenfield invited questions from delegates about the new Standards Blueprint.
Taking up the opportunity, Finance Wise director James Barger-Bos said: “With the limited licensing regime that accountants went through, after the accountants’ exemption expired in 2017, their licence is very specific and unique, isn’t it, because all they are able to advise on is the establishment and the winding up of self-managed super funds – no investments, no insurance, very little else.
“So in our case we’ve got many accountants that are limited in their authority through our licence. There is no way that those accountants know anything about investments, know anything about insurance, know anything about superannuation because they’re not qualified to.
“It’s only self-managed super funds [they’re involved with], so have they been considered?”
In response, Glenfield said FASEA had taken this factor into account in formulating the pitching of the level of the exam.
“We understand there are specialisations out there and people that [cover] particular areas,” he noted.
“The challenge for us is in getting the exam pitched at a level that is appropriate for everyone and that’s what we’ve tried to do.”
Earlier in the session, Glenfield described the rigour of the exam as one that is targeted at a level FASEA expects all planners and advisers would be able to successfully sit.
With regards to the special needs of advisers, he said more detail was to come in this area.