Education, FASEA

SAFAA welcomes adviser standards reset

SAFAA advisers standards

SAFAA has suggested alternative educational requirements for financial advisers after the government proposed resetting the standards.

The Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association (SAFAA) has welcomed the federal government’s proposal to reset the educational standards for financial planners as a return to parliament’s original intention to recognise education and experience across the financial services sector.

SAFAA chief executive Judith Fox said requirements created by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) failed to comprehend the skills of all professionals within the industry due to the body’s one-size-fits-all approach.

“The proposals resetting the education standards do not ‘roll back’ or ‘lower’ education standards. They restore parliament’s intent, which clearly stated that a degree or degree equivalent was required and also deep experience and prior learning should be recognised,” Fox said.

“It was FASEA – a bureaucracy that was averse to stakeholder engagement – that narrowed the scope of recognised qualifications. It deemed a range of advisers with degrees best suited to stockbroking and investment advice as unqualified and failed to recognise skills, knowledge and experience.”

In a submission to Treasury on suggested changes to education standards, SAFAA proposed that qualifications and educational requirements imitate the approach used by the Tax Practitioners Board and other professions in which advisers complete eight units out of a list of relevant fields in a single qualification or across multiple qualifications.

It also welcomed the experience pathway proposed by the government and opposition, which recognises 10 or more years of full-time experience as a financial adviser, an unblemished record and the completion of one tertiary unit in ethics as degree equivalent.

‘’The experience pathway is good policy and common sense as it finally recognises the knowledge, experience and decades of professional development that advisers have built up over this time and will ensure we retain experienced stockbrokers to the benefit of retail investors in Australia,” Fox said.

“Both the government and the opposition have recognised that the current state of the financial advice industry is not sustainable. We are losing more advisers than gaining new entrants. Retaining our experienced advisers is key to fulfilling the desire of the financial advice industry to provide affordable and accessible advice to more Australians.”

SAFAA also asked the government to implement changes to the regime urgently to better safeguard the advice industry.

‘’Advisers need certainty that these changes will be passed as they will have a significant impact on their careers, choices and mental health. Candidates also require certainty that they satisfy the qualification pathway so they can commence the professional year,’’ Fox noted.

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