COVID-19 hits exam numbers

FASEA adviser exam

Financial advisers shied away from the first online sitting of the FASEA adviser exam, but registrations for the second iteration are building strongly.

The shift to online exams has heavily reduced the number of advisers taking that option to meet professional standards obligations, with the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) reporting less than 500 people sat the April exam.

The online exam, conducted using remote proctoring from 2 to 7 April, was attempted by 470 advisers, down from the more than 2200 who sat the February exam. The figure is the lowest number of people to have sat the exam since it was introduced in June 2019, when 579 advisers sat the exam, while 1697 advisers sat the September 2019 exam and 2981 sat the December 2019 exam.

FASEA said the adviser exam was conducted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was still subject to the Australian Council for Educational Research’s comprehensive marking approach and set at a consistent standard to prior exams.

The authority also noted 79 per cent of candidates passed the April exam, and overall 86 per cent of advisers, or 30 per cent of those on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s Financial Adviser Register (FAR), who have sat the exam have passed. In total, 7958 advisers have sat the exam, representing 35 per cent of advisers on the FAR.

FASEA chief executive Stephen Glenfield congratulated the advisers who passed the exam “during the current extraordinary circumstances”.

The authority added the June exam, to be held from the eleventh to the sixteenth of that month, will only take place online and registrations, which have to data passed 2000, have been extended until 29 May.

The August exam is also open for registration and more than 1200 advisers have signed up, with FASEA indicating it may offer the exam in physical locations as well as by remote proctoring, depending on COVID-19 restrictions.

Dates for the October and November exams have been announced, however, registrations will not open for those until early July.

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