Stalled exam bill a govt failure

FASEA exam extension bill

An adviser representative group has condemned a government decision to delay the FASEA exam extension bill as a failing to act for those most affected.

The United Financial Advisers Association (UFAA) has slammed the federal government’s decision to delay the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam extension bill until August.

UFAA chairman Alex Vagliviello said the stalling of the FASEA exam extension in parliament represented the government’s inability to understand or appreciate the role of advisers in helping Australians achieve their financial goals.

“At a time when the nation is facing its greatest economic challenge, access to quality professional advice and service is so crucially needed by Australian consumers, business owners and individuals that have lost jobs, the government has chosen to extend the relief bill to August,” Vagliviello said.

“Furthermore, politicians continue to ignore the fact that financial advisers are small and medium-sized enterprises and are leaving the industry in unprecedented numbers. This latest fiasco will not only accelerate the exodus, but in doing so condemn their administrative staff and paraplanners to be added to the ranks of unemployed.

“It simply defies comprehension.”

He noted the compliance burden placed on financial advisers, in addition to their many operational expenses, including ASIC fees and professional indemnity costs, meant many Australians who were in need of financial advice as a result of being negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, were now unable to afford such services.

“The failure to pass the FASEA extension bill was not an issue of a simple exam extension but a reaffirmation of the gulf between politicians (and their consultants) and the real world of advisers and the benefit they provide to consumers – many of whom now are on ‘struggle street’ as a result of the pandemic,” he added.

“At a time when Australia needs bold and decisive action and a vision charting a return to economic well-being for the good of the people, federal parliamentarians are once again found wanting. They simply don’t care.”

Last week, the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) had called on the ALP to pass the bill before the parliamentary sitting period ended but also noted that if it did not pass through parliament in time for the extension to begin from the end of 2020, ASIC could make an exemption granting the extension.

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