FASEA exam numbers grow as pass rate falls

FASEA exam numbers

High numbers of financial advisers have undertaken the most recent FASEA exam in January 2020, but the pass rate has continued to fall.

Around 70 per cent of financial advisers undertaking the March sitting of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) exam have passed, with enrolment numbers well above the average across all exams.

FASEA reported 2234 advisers sat the March exam, compared with an average of 1399 across all 11 exams to date, and 69 per cent of candidates passed.

The pass rate for the exam has been dropping over time, with lower rates reported for the January 2021, November 2020 and October 2020 exams.

Of those candidates sitting the exam for the first time, 74 per cent passed, compared with an average of 83 per cent across all exams, with FASEA analysis finding a number of areas where exam candidates underperformed.

In the area of regulatory and legal obligations, advisers struggled with demonstrating knowledge of the components of advice documentation provided to clients and applying relevant sections of the Corporations Act when identifying responsible provider obligations.

In the area of ethical and professional reasoning, advisers underperformed in identifying sources of judgment and biases and their influence on financial advice, and applying best interest duty and associated ethical obligations when providing financial advice.

Additionally, in the area of financial advice construction, the authority said advisers struggled with demonstrating an understanding of the context in which financial advice is given and requested and how this impacts on decision-making.

Advisers who were unsuccessful in the March exam will receive additional individual feedback to highlight the curriculum areas where they have underperformed and an invitation to a FASEA-led webinar to provide guidance on how to prepare for their next sitting.

Those advisers, and any who have yet to sit the exam, only have four more sittings to take and pass the exam by the end of 2021. More than 2100 advisers have booked for the May exam and a further 600 advisers have booked for the July exam.

The authority noted 15,200 advisers had sat the exam, with 13,500 (89 per cent) passing it, which represented 65 per cent of advisers on ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register.

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