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Education, Regulation

Industry body revamps specialist adviser program

The SMSF Association is making changes to its SMSF specialist adviser (SSA) program to bring it in line with guidelines issued by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA).

Announcing the changes during the opening session of the SMSF Association National Conference 2019, association chief executive John Maroney said the SSA course would be modernised as it moved to a course-based model away from the single exam currently in use.

“This is in line with what FASEA is pointing to as best practice and we are aiming to have the new SSA rolled out from 1 July this year,” Maroney said at the conference in Melbourne.

Speaking during a later session at the conference, association head of education and technical Peter Hogan said the shift would close the express pathways program for any advisers who did not register for the exam before 30 June 2018.

“That’s the opportunity for you to simply sit the two-hour exam without doing any other formal education or go through any additional process,” Hogan said.

“If you register before the program, you’ll have two months to complete that exam.”

Following on from this, the only way advisers can achieve the SSA designation is by opting for the comprehensive pathways program, he added.

“We are engaging in a significant change and revamp of our education offering to our professional members and certainly bringing it more up to speed,” he said.

Maroney said the association’s continuing professional development (CPD) courses would also be redesigned to ensure they better align with the requirements of FASEA and do not increase the CPD burden where advisers had to meet multiple CPD commitments.

“For most SMSFA members, we do not expect FASEA education requirements to represent a major threat, but we do expect most advisers to do some further education,” he said.

“We will endeavour to provide support, directly or indirectly, by working with education partners and we encourage advisers to look for opportunities that will arise as a highly educated and professional workforce.”

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