SMSFA welcomes FASEA’s draft education pathway, wants more detail

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The SMSF Association says proposed guidance from the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) on education pathways for financial advisers is a “crucial step forward”, but wants to see more detail.

The FASEA this week released a draft Code of Ethics and Proposed Guidance on Education Pathways for All Advisers, for consultation.

A statement by Minister for Revenue and Financial Services said: “It is important to remember why these reforms are necessary – repeated instances of inappropriate or just plain bad advice has significantly eroded trust and confidence in the financial advice sector.”

“Every adviser has a role to play in rebuilding that trust, and these new educational requirements are a critical step towards professionalising the sector.”

“Ultimately, the professionalization of the advice sector will be in the best interests of all advisers, existing and new, because it will ensure enduring consumer trust and confidence in the financial advice sector.”

SMSF Association CEO John Maroney said the Association welcomes the draft code of ethics.

“This code is a key plank in ensuring consumers can have confidence that all advisers are governed by the same ethical obligations,” he said.

“The guidance, when coupled with the proposed draft industry code of ethics, will give the advice industry far more confidence that the implementation of the new educational and ethical standards is progressing on a much sounder footing.”

“Since FASEA issued its initial guidance on adviser educational standards in December 2017, the SMSF Association has been calling for far more detail, and the documents issued today are a positive move in that direction.”

“The newly released educational pathway guidance illustrates that FASEA has listened closely to the industry and the proposed pathways are more flexible and give greater recognition to advisers’ prior education.”

Maroney said it is sensible that existing advisers who have formal education in a related field, along with relevant post-graduate study, will only have to complete a small additional amount of study to meet the new standards.

“This is an improvement from our initial understanding of the FASEA standards and is a positive outcome for advisers who have a degree in a relevant field, as defined by FASEA, and have chosen to increase their knowledge by further education,” he said.

Though the SMSF Association is still seeking more detail on the standards.

“There still is more detail needed to see how the standard will apply to individuals, especially regarding recognised prior learning and what post-graduate qualifications will be included in the relevant pathway and the Association wants to work closely with FASEA to flesh this out,” said Mr Maroney.

“To achieve this outcome, we will be making a submission and consult with FASEA on educational standards. We will also be continuing with our consultation round-tables with our members across the country to understand their views on how the updated guidance affects them.”

Consultation on draft Code of Ethics is open until 1 June 2018, and 29 June for the Proposed Guidance on Education Pathways for All Advisers.

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