FASEA proposed education qualifications a “critical first step”

The release of the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority’s (FASEA) education qualifications has been welcomed by the SMSF Association as a critical first step.

The FASEA recently released its Existing Adviser Qualifications Pathway: Proposed Guidance, proposing that an AQF7 qualification (equivalent to a three year full-time university degree) or an AQF8 qualification (equivalent to a postgraduate certificate) will be required for existing financial advisers.

“This announcement will provide early certainty around what will be required for financial advisers to meet the new requirements,” said Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dywer, following the release of the proposals.

“Unless an adviser already holds a formal, approved qualification…, they will be required to undertake some form of education leading to an AQF7 or AQF8 qualification. Advisers will be required to complete that program before 1 January 2024.”

“This announcement by FASEA continues the implementation of the Government’s reforms that will build trust and confidence in the financial advice industry and ensure that consumers have access to professional advisers who will put their interests first.”

SMSF Association CEO John Maroney said the proposed qualification requirements are a “critical first step in providing certainty for advisers”.

Maroney said the SMSF Association is looking forward to engaging with FASEA on the details of the qualification pathways.

“Details on recognition of prior learning and bridging courses will be significant, especially given FASEA’s initial narrow approach to recognising relevant degrees for their standards. We understand that FASEA’S statement at this stage is only outlining their approach, with a lot of detail to be fleshed out in 2018,” he said.

“We want to ensure that advisers who have previously completed a bachelor’s degree as an attempt to be professional and improve their skills are not unfairly disadvantaged by FASEA’s new standards.”

“Consultation on these issues will be crucial in 2018, and we hope that FASEA maintains a flexible approach during the transition period to the new standards for advisers.”

One area the SMSF Association will be advocating on is for SMSF advice to have specific education standards.

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