The Government’s decision to extend two FASEA transition deadlines has been welcomed by professional bodies.
Jane Hume, the Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, announced an extension for the transition to the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA). Under the extension, advisers who were registered on the Financial Adviser Register on 1 January 2019 would have an additional year to complete the FASEA-approved exam (extended to 1 January 2022) and an additional two years to meet FASEA’s qualification requirements (extended to 1 January 2026.
However these extensions don’t apply to new advisers who registered after 1 January 2019.
Hume said that the Government needed to balance raising the educational standards of the industry with the impact the changes would have on “availability, quality and affordability of advice”.
Hume pointed out that the exam is currently only available in capital cities, and won’t be available in regional areas until sometime in September 2019.
“The extension of the exam will ensure that all advisers, including rural and regional advisers, will have two years to sit the exam, as originally intended,” said Hume.
“The extension of the qualification requirements will assist working parents, including those taking parental leave during the transition period, to have sufficient time to meet the requirements, maintaining a diverse adviser industry.”
The move to extend the dates to meet some of the new requirements has been welcomed and supported by professional bodies.
CEO of the Financial Planning Association of Australia, Dante De Gori, said the extension meant financial advisers were “no longer being unfairly disadvantaged by delays from FASEA in rolling-out its exam and its new Code of Ethics”.
“The proposed new deadlines will give existing financial planners more time to study, ensuring that these reforms are successful at raising the bar across the profession.”
“We’re pleased that Minister Hume has listened to the feedback from our members and been willing to work with the FPA and AFA jointly to deliver a better outcome for all financial planners and their clients.”
The SMSF Association said the Government had “struck the right balance” between improving standards and giving industry time to adjust.
“The Government’s announcement that it will continue implementing reforms to build trust in financial advice as a true profession is welcomed,” said SMSF Association CEO John Maroney.
He said the extensions are “prudent steps to limit the disruption being caused by these necessary changes”, and that Assistant Minister Hume “has demonstrated she is prepared to listen to the genuine concerns of the industry over the timing of the reforms without undermining their integrity”.
“The Association has no doubt that the Government’s ongoing reform to financial advice will raise the industry’s educational, training and ethical standards, and commend it for doing so.”
“But it’s critical to realise the industry needs time to adjust, and that’s exactly what the Government has done with this announcement.”
CPA Australia also welcomes the extension, with Public Practice Manager Keddie Waller saying it would “help smooth the transition for financial advisers”.
“We note, however, that there are elements, such as recognition of prior learning, that are still being finalised by FASEA.”