Education, financial advice

SMSFA pushes for lower adviser exam fee

SMSF Association financial adviser exam Treasury consultation costs reduction

The SMSF Association has requested a reduction in the sitting fee for the financial adviser exam and backed a government proposal to change certain provisions of the test.

The SMSF Association (SMSFA) has supported a proposal to amend the financial adviser examination while also calling on the federal government to reduce the costs of sitting the test.

The industry body made the request for the fee to be decreased as part of its submission to Treasury on the exposure draft of the Corporations (Relevant Providers – Education and Training Standards) Amendment (2024 Measures No 1) Determination 2024, which was announced in December 2023.

“The costs associated with the administration of the exams have significantly increased since the transition of their administration from [the] Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority to [the] Australian Securities and Investments Commission,” SMSFA chief executive Peter Burgess stated.

“We understand that this is in part due to lower numbers of exam candidates. In 2019, the exam fee was $597 per sitting and is currently $1500 per sitting.

“These increases are not insignificant, are not sustainable and risk creating a barrier to entry. We anticipate, and look forward to, the proposed exposure draft amendments resulting in a substantial reduction in the exam fee.”

The request for a reduced exam fee stems from the proposal to remove short-answer questions from the test, a change endorsed by the SMSFA.

“The proposed changes to the exam questions so that they only comprise multiple-choice questions will reduce exam administration costs and improve response times for exam candidates to receive their results,” Burgess said.

“Our own experience with the conversion of written-question exams to multiple-choice exams shows these efficiencies can be achieved without compromising exam standards or lowering the bar in terms of testing relevant knowledge and skills.”

He also noted the modification of the current Corporations (Relevant Providers – Education and Training Standards) Determination 2021 to allow individuals who are not provisional relevant providers or existing advisers to take the exam is a positive development.

“Removing the requirement that a person must have already met the qualifications standard before sitting the exam is a common-sense amendment that will provide greater flexibility and accessibility for future advisers seeking to sit the exam,” he stated.

“It will enable candidates to sit the exam at a time that better suits their circumstances, including those located in remote and rural areas who may be required to travel some distance to an exam centre.”

The consultation period for the draft amendment closed on 10 January.

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