Next steps for advisers in wake of FASEA Standards update

Education "Professional Development

FASEA issued a Summary of Standards on the evening of Friday 16 November 2018 for the professional standards framework for financial advisers. The Summary of Standards provides an overview of the key requirements for each of the Standards which will be reflected in the legislative documentation that will be released in the coming weeks. 

Each legislative instrument will be open for consultation for between two and four weeks, after which time FASEA will review the feedback received and finalise the Standards. The whole process is expected to conclude in December, which creates some challenges for licensees in implementing the required policy changes.

The key differences advisers need to be aware of are summarised below.

Education     

  • Relevant Degree definition now broadened – i.e. eight subjects in a degree or higher qualification in one or more of the designated related fields of study (i.e. accounting, investment, estate law, banking, economics, finance, finance law, taxation law as defined by TBP, business law as defined by TPB)
  • RPL available for two of the three bridging subjects (i.e. Corporations Act and Behavioural Finance; excluding the Ethics subject as it will be new content)
  • RPL available for FASEA approved study to attain a professional designation (e.g. FPA CFP five-unit program and AFA FChFP post-2014)
  • Four subjects now required (instead of three) for holders of a Relevant Degree with no other relevant study (e.g. those without an Adv Dip FP or coursework for a professional designation such as CFP or FChFP in addition to their relevant degree)
  • Improved acceptance and approval process for foreign qualifications
  • New Adviser and Career Changer pathways now include approved Graduate Diploma or approved Masters Degree (must include bridging knowledge areas; entry requirements depend on education institution)

Exam         

  • Three and a half hours, partial open book (statutory material only) designed to demonstrate professional reasoning and apply knowledge to financial advice scenarios
  • Curriculum, recommended reading lists and a practice exam will be published by FASEA (timing not announced)
  • Scope will cover regulatory and legal obligations (Corporations Act Ch.7, AML, Privacy, TPB), financial advice construction, and applied ethical and professional reasoning and communication
  • Re-sits will be available (clarification required on number and timing)

CPD

  • 40 hours total per year (down from 50)
  • Four hours maximum (10%) for professional reading
  • Compliance required from 1 January 2019 so CPD plans may need to be adjusted to accommodate the new requirements where the CPD year does not start on this date

Code of Ethics       

  • Revised wording for all standards with stronger requirements regarding fees and consent from all clients (new and existing)
  • A new standard regarding record keeping for new, existing and former clients

Professional Year  

  • Hours of training required now 100 (down from 800)
  • Exam not required to commence Professional Year program, but must be passed prior to commencement of Q3/Q4 activities with indirect supervision

Next Steps

  1. Importantly, no immediate action is required by advisers as the standards are not yet final.
  2. To provide feedback to FASEA on the proposals, please visit their website and submit this directly.
  3. If you are currently studying a relevant subject, Centrepoint recommends you complete that study and place further study on hold. If you are yet to commence study, we recommend you postpone any enrolments.
  4. When the final standards are released and the approved Graduate Diploma program has been designed, complete an education gap analysis to confirm your recommended study pathway.

If you would like more information on how Centrepoint Alliance is supporting its community of advisers through the FASEA reforms, get in touch with us.

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