FASEA educational guidelines ‘crucial step’ for advisers

The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority’s (FASEA) decision to issue proposed guidelines to assist financial advisers meet their new educational requirements has been welcomed by the SMSF Association as an important step in transitioning the advice sector to the new standards.

Responding to FASEA’s release yesterday of the “Existing Adviser Qualifications Pathway: Proposed Guidance” document, SMSF Association CEO John Maroney says: “This is a critical first step in providing certainty for advisers on how they can meet the new degree standard educational requirements by 2024.

“Improving the educational standards of financial advisers is an important reform that will ensure they are delivering the best quality advice to consumers and assisting them to meet their long-term financial goals.”

Maroney says the SMSF Association is looking forward to further engaging with FASEA on the detail of their qualification pathways for advisers.

“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.

“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.”

The SMSF Association will be making more detailed comments on the standards as part of the consultation process.

Maroney says that although the initial guidance proposals have not dealt with specialist areas of advice, the Association is pleased that FASEA has recognised the importance of needing to consider this as part of their ongoing standards development.

“We will be advocating for SMSF advice to have specific educational standards given the complexity of the subject matter and the importance of ensuring SMSF members are being advised by professionals with the requisite knowledge to do so,” he says.