The federal government is aware of the limited time frame available to advisers to meet new education standards and is considering its next steps, but has shied away from extending the time available to meet the new standards.
Addressing the Financial Services Council Summit 2019 in Sydney yesterday, Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology Jane Hume said the government had introduced transition provisions, which are being implemented by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority, to ensure existing advisers had sufficient time to meet the new education requirements.
“In saying that, I’m well aware that financial advisers and industry representatives have concerns about their capacity to meet these requirements, even within the current transitional arrangements,” Hume said.
“We know it is important to strike the right balance between the need to improve the professional standards of advisers operating in the industry, but also recognising that many of these advisers need to balance work, study and family commitments.
“The government is listening to your concerns and is carefully considering how to proceed,” she said, adding consultation around the implementation of the new requirements was ongoing.
She said the government also understood many advisers felt they were being asked to improve their practices because of the behaviour of others.
“We understand that change is never easy and many advisers who have always done the right thing by their clients are now caught up in the maelstrom of reforms, regulations and requirements that have been forced upon an industry whose reputation has been tarnished by the unprofessional behaviour of others,” she said.
“We also know that that there is great value in good advice and that more Australians would benefit from seeking the services of a trusted professional financial adviser.
“We have also heard from advisers that they themselves place great value in their professionalism and pride in their practices, many of which are family businesses. I thank you for your cooperation, your patience and your fortitude as these important changes to your industry are implemented.”
In the same speech, she also restated the government’s ambition to complete its agenda of reforms within the superannuation sector that stemmed from recommendations made by the financial services royal commission and Productivity Commission, and called on fund trustees to drive the changes.