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Education, FASEA, Financial Planning

Industry body criticises FASEA exam guidance

Feedback from financial planning stakeholders to date has revealed in general a poor assessment of the guidance material the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) has provided for the professional exam about to be introduced to the industry.

Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) policy and professionalism general manager Phil Anderson highlighted flaws with the reading list for the exams FASEA had provided.

“We weren’t all that happy with the reading list because it didn’t narrow in on the specific sections of legislation that we think advisers should need to know for the exam,” Anderson told delegates during the recent AFA 2019 National Roadshow.

“So when they gave guidance on chapter 7 of the Corporations Act, they gave us two links – one went to the first half of chapter 7 and the other one went to the second half of chapter 7 plus chapter 8 and chapter 9.

“So if you wanted guidance on which part of chapter 7 to look at, you didn’t get it.”

Further, he revealed feedback the AFA had received from technical practitioners and specialist advisers regarding the sample exam questions was also negative.

“Those who are really technically strong fed back to us these questions are not technically correct. That was because it wasn’t clear when the enduring power of attorney [in the question] was enforced. It wasn’t clear whether the client had lost capacity,” he noted.

“And those two issues were very instrumental in the rest of the question. There were other questions that were subjective [where] there were three answers that could be right.”

According to Anderson, the specialists’ concerns centred on the relevance of the questions.

“They said: ‘Where are these aged-care questions coming from? Estate planning, Centrelink. I don’t work in that space,’” he said.

He pointed out FASEA’s response to the sample exam questions was that they were not an exact replica of what the exam questions would be and they did not go through the same approval process.

In addition, it said the exam would not include questions of a technical nature and the sample questions were only intended to provide guidance as to the format.

Anderson also said advisers sitting the first round of exams were taking a gamble due to flaws in the finalisation of exam courses.

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