financial advice, Regulation

Adviser exam changes a positive step

ASIC Financial adviser exam Financial advisers

A proposal to streamline the financial adviser exam will help bring more advisers into the profession and provides a more objective measure of the abilities of new entrants.

The federal government’s plan to simplify the financial adviser exam is a positive step towards boosting the number of professionals in the field, according to a senior technical executive.

Last month, Treasury released draft legislation proposing slight modifications to the current Corporations (Relevant Providers – Education and Training Standards) Determination 2021.

The changes are aimed at eliminating short-answer questions from the exam, making it an exclusively multiple-choice format, in addition to removing the restriction that limits eligibility to provisional relevant providers and existing advisers.

BT Financial Group head of financial advocacy and literacy Bryan Ashenden acknowledged the proposed changes might seem unjust to individuals who have already undertaken the exam, but he commended the intention behind the draft legislation.

“I think one of the key messages the government has heard is if you want to try and get more people in to become a financial adviser and able to provide advice, we need to make this a better process. We need to be able to get the responses through faster,” Ashenden told attendees of a recent BT Academy webinar.

“With multiple-choice questions, it’s much easier to work out where you have passed or where you haven’t passed as opposed to a subjective nature that sometimes comes through with a short-answer question. So more objectivity is a better option.

“Opening it up [and] allowing more people to complete the exam, not just people who are the relevant providers themselves, is actually a good thing as well.”

He also considered whether the sitting fee for the exam, which stands at $1500, would be lowered if it were to transition to an exclusively multiple-choice format, as assessments of the exam are likely to be technology-based.

“It would be nice to think the answer is yes, that if this is a quicker and faster way, those savings should be passed on and not just additional money that goes through to the regulators from an administration point as well,” he said.

“But we’ll need to wait and see. We don’t know exactly when these changes will take effect.”


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